Solomon Islands striker Benjamin Totori made such an impression on Ricki Herbert at the recent OFC Nations Cup that the coach has signed him for the Wellington Phoenix.
Totori tormented the All Whites defence, scoring superb goals with both feet, and that was enough to convince Herbert that he would be able to cause problems for Hyundai A-League defences.
The Phoenix confirmed today that Totori, 26, has signed a one-year contract with the club with an option for a second year.
“Benji is an exciting player and he will be good not only for us but the league as well,” Herbert said.
“He has real pace, good close control and a powerful shot in both feet.
“I am looking forward to working with him and he will give us a different dimension.”
Totori is well acquainted with New Zealand having played for Youngheart Manawatu, as well as having two spells with Waitakere United either side of a spell with Portland Timbers in the United States.
His international scoring record is outstanding, having netted 15 goals in 17 appearances for the Solomon Islands.
Totori said since playing for Waitakere his ambition had been to join the Phoenix.
“It was definitely on my mind while playing for Waitakere,” he said.
“When we (Solomon Islands) were playing New Zealand I knew Ricki would be watching and I hoped I could play well enough for him to notice me.
“Thankfully I did okay and scored three goals in the two games.
“I know what a good coach Ricki is and am looking forward to learning from him.
“I want to score goals for the Phoenix and help them be successful.”