Pekay Edwards (2014), Kimi Samuel (2015), Dwayne Tiputoa (2015), William Napa (2016 and 2017) and Conroy Tiputoa (2017) have benefitted from the CIFA scholarship to further their college studies in New Zealand.
Puaikura Football Club president Junior Areai said the scholarships helped the players improve on their football skills and knowledge as well as their academic performance.
He said the five players attended Mt Albert Grammar School (MAGS) in Auckland, with all expenses paid by CIFA.
“The good thing about these scholarship recipients is they come back with advanced football knowledge to help improve the game here,” Areai said.
“They come back and play for the team in the domestic competitions as well as for the national teams in the international events.
“The national team also benefits from this and we are thankful to CIFA and president Lee Harmon for having such vision and for helping our young players to progress, not only in football but academically as well, by providing these scholarships.”
Areai said Edwards, Dwayne and Napa were selected in the starting line-up of the MAGS under-18 team for the national secondary schools tournament in New Zealand.
He said Samuel and Conroy also made the cut but were placed in the reserves.
“It’s a proud achievement for the club and the country to have our players selected for such prestigious tournament,” Areai said.
“We can see the changes in them after they return from completing their scholarship. They are more versed with the football techniques and skills.
“It has also provided them with an opportunity to excel academically and two of them are reaping the benefits after joining university in New Zealand to pursue further studies.
“As the president of Puaikura Football Club, I’m proud of the achievement of these players.”