Barbados international Shaquille Belle on the ball for Wairarapa United against Wellington United on Saturday. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
A 19-year-old striker who has been labelled as “Oceania’s new wonderkid” is likely to make his debut for Wairarapa United in their Central League men’s football fixture with Havelock North at Havelock North today.
Azariah Soromon was given that lofty billing on the Oceania FC website when he starred for the winning Vanuatu squad at the Pacific Mini Games tournament in January, an event which attracted all footballing nations within the Oceania region other than New Zealand.
Soromon started in sensational fashion by scoring the winning goal in the 2-1 success over New Caledonia in injury time and then scored a spectacular double in a 5-0 defeat of Tonga.
The first came from a fine low finish from inside the area and the second with a freekick when he looped the ball over the goalkeeper from the right wing.
Another Soromon goal then earned Vanuatu an important 1-1 draw with Fiji and he followed that up with two more goals in the 10-0 thrashing of Tuvalu.
“It is clear Soromon is part of a golden generation of Vanuatu footballers – he was the standout surprise of the mini games,” the website said.
“His late runs into the box, composure in front of goal and natural finishing were all on show as he helped Vanuatu to the title.”
Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley said Soromon was virtually certain to be part of his starting line-up for the Havelock North match providing all the documentation required was in order.
“Right now, we don’t envisage any problems and we’re keen to get him out there to see what he can do. His credentials are outstanding, for a young guy he has already achieved a lot so he’s obviously a quick learner.”
The arrival of Soromon is timely for Wairarapa United as experienced striker Paul Ifill is very likely to miss today’s game because of a slight hamstring strain which saw him limp off the field late in the 3-2 win over Wellington United at Memorial Park on Saturday.
In Ifill’s absence, it would mean Soromon combining up front with Barbados international Shaquille Belle, who has made a big impression with his speed and agility, not to mention his goal-scoring prowess, in his first couple of Central League hit-outs this season.
The name Soromon is, of course, familiar to Wairarapa United fans through the remarkable deeds of Azariah’s uncle, Seule, over the past few seasons and now the two will get the chance to play together as Seule Soromon is still very much an integral part of the Wairarapa United squad.
He too, is best known for his goal-scoring feats, although these days his talents are often used in a more defensive role.
Today, in fact, it would not surprise if Seule Soromon was part of the Wairarapa United midfield as they will be without skipper Cameron Lindsay who was red-carded for dissent against Wellington United and is on an automatic one game suspension as a consequence.
And with the in-form Aaron Spierling also battling a hamstring strain, there could be a couple of holes to fill there.
On paper, Havelock North should pose few problems for a Wairarapa United squad whose latest win has them in fifth place on the points table with seven points, just two behind joint leaders Napier City Rovers, Stop Out and Wellington Olympic, and one point in arrears of Western Suburbs.
Havelock North, on the other hand, have yet to open their account with four losses from as many games and will be coming into this game on the back of a comprehensive 5-2 beating by Lower Hutt City.
Appearances have, however, had a habit of being deceiving for Wairarapa United over the past couple of seasons with losses to lower-rated sides too often coming back to haunt them in their bids to capture their
first Central League title.
Keinzley, for one, is taking nothing for granted about tomorrow’s result.
“These are the banana skin games — you aren’t quite there mentally, you fall over. We’re playing away to a team desperate for their first win — it won’t be easy.”