SOLOMON Islands dual international Micah Lea’alafa’s contract with Auckland City is still valid despite his recent visa setback.
Some local football fans questioned the player’s contract since he is seen in the country after the World Cup qualifiers in September.
Auckland City Team Manager, David Firisua Jr told Star Sports the player is still a City player.
Firisua who is also Lea’alafa’s agent explained the player’s situation.
“For sure, Micah is still registered with Auckland City Football Club and is waiting for his visa to re-enters New Zealand.
“He has had to appy from Solomon Islands and unfortunately it takes too long.
“He didn’t experience this before because the last two seasons he had applied from Auckland,” he explained.
Star Sports understand Lea’alafa was not named in the Navy Blues squad for the round one of the ISPS Handa Premiership.
Thus, Firisua said Lea’alafa is still eligible to play in the domestic New Zealand Premiership and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Lea’alafa is not included in the national side for the Pacific Mini Games due to his deal with the Oceania club champions.
National team coach Felipe Vega-Arango said Lea’alafa is committed to his club duties so he couldn’t make it to the Mini Games in Port Vila.
“Micah is not going to join the team in Vanuatu because he is set to join Auckland City for the FIFA World Cup which is also in December.
“He is the best player in the country but he has the final say and we need to respect it,” he said.
The Spaniard stressed that the door is still open if the player changes his decision come December.
When asked, Lea’alafa insisted his heart is with the national side despite opting to join his club for the FIFA Club World Cup.
“My heart will always with the national team. I believe the lads are capable of doing well in Vanuatu.
“Anything is possible if they continue to work hard in training and stick together as a team,” he said.
The FIFA Club World Cup will be stage in the United Arab Emirates from 12-22 December.
The Solomon Islands poster boy could rub solder with World’s best player Christiano Ronaldo if the Navy Blues progress into the semi-finals.
Auckland City FC enjoyed its highest ever placing at the FIFA Club World Cup by winning the bronze medal after a penalty shoot-out win over CONCACAF champions Cruz Azul in 2015.
By SIMON ABANA