Samoan Football Federation is quite busy for the following weeks to come. At the moment, the organisation will end the 7 a-side tournament this morning with its final rounds. “The 7 a-side has been a great experience this time, we had a few problems concerning the weather conditions, but overall, it’s been a really good tournament for all the teams involved”, said Scott Easthope, head coach of Samoa’s National Team.
The competition that was actually introduced as a stop gap tournament to end last year’s season, was renewed this year and marked the season’s kick start. The participants include 22 men’s teams as well as eight all-female squads, with most of them being based in Upolu.
Due to the event’s outstanding popularity, plans are underway to even extend the tournament’s pool by organizing a similar competition on Savai’i.
In spite of that, the federation recently introduced a program to encourage young soccer fans to start kicking the ball. The campaign with the name “Just Play”, that was launched as a cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture and Football Samoa has already given proof of the fact that there is a certain demand for soccer among the youth in Savai’i.
The Organisation is now ready to take on the Lepa and Lotofaga districts by offering special trainings and distributing gear for young players between the ages six to twelve from the 9th to the 13th May. Speaking of the sport’s popularity on the island of Savai’i, the federation will also host the Cup Tournament there as well as its special futsal competition for the first time in Savai’i this year.
As for the Men’s National team, the most important event of the year is currently lying ahead. “This is a big thing for us and the chances are there to show how well we have improved”, stated the team’s coach, Scott Hopkins.
The upcoming Nations Cup takes place in Papua New Guinea and with this competition in mind, the team is put through last fitness tests at the FFS fields, just before the nomination of the final squad on Saturday evening, as the National coach explained: “The preparations on the Oceanic Nations Cup went very well so far, we are currently going through the final stations, and after the last training camp, we will announce who will be in the team for the tournament in Papua New Guinea”.
The team will compete in the cup with a 22-man squad including likely three goal keepers and consisting of around 9 to 10 local based players with the rest based overseas. After the final preparations, the Samoan team will depart for Papua New Guinea no later than Thursday 26th of May.
Samoa’s National team will open the cup with a game against Tahiti on the 28th of May and is very well aware that they have to face a difficult match: “I think as the reigning champions, Tahiti will be a hard opponent for us as well as New Caledonia, because the way both teams play is very similar, but we will try our best of course”.
The last pool match will be against Papua New Guinea. As the coach told Weekend Observer, the team has a specific aim in mind when it comes to their chances in the tournament: “Our main focus will be to make it to the top six teams of the cup.
It will be difficult to reach the tournament’s knock-out round, but you never know what comes. We will be trying the best we can to achieve a successful position in the tournament”. According to the team management, there is a great confidence of a good showing at the Nations Cup that will proof how far soccer has come in Samoa.