The inter-school cricket tournament was on full swing yesterday courtesy of the Samoa International Cricket Association (S.I.C.A).
Year 7 and 8 students from Mulivai, Salamumu, Tafitoala, Fusi, Lotofaga, Vaie’e and Sa’anapu schools battled away through rain and sun for their chance of making their families and schools proud.
The tournament theme was ‘Hardcore Cricket’ as this was the first time the students got a chance to use standard cricket gear as opposed to the plastic ones they previously used.
Speaking to Samoa Observer about the tournament was cricket coach Sililauga Taitoa Kaisala from Vailele.
“We are teaching the children how to play English cricket through this tournament and from the looks of things they are really enjoying themselves,” he said.
“We teach them how to hold the bat, how to bowl the ball, and all other basic gaming techniques.”
According to Sililauga S.I.C.A is only targeting government schools at this point but there are plans to bring in others to the tournament.
“We are only working with the government schools at this time around but there are plans to have a private school tournament and we are looking forward to that,” he said.
“(But) the children taking part right now are doing very well; they know the basics of the game through the training that we have given them.”
The association is currently targeting players at the grass root level which will help develop them into top cricket stars when they get older and qualify for the national team.
“When the children reach the college school age and we see that they have performed well from the grass root level we will give them the opportunity to represent Samoa,” Sililauga said.
“That is our ultimate goal, we build them up while they are young and when they hit the right age we will approach them with the offer.”
But even cricket has their own set of issues.
“Cricket is a very expensive sport because we need to purchase gear such as pads, batting gloves and so much more,” Sililauga said.
“Although the cost is high to manage it is still an addictive game when you start, when people get a chance to play cricket it is less likely they will quit it.”
The hardcore tournament is one of the moves for S.I.C.A to develop the sport in Samoa.
“We are trying our best to develop the children’s skills because they are the future for cricket in Samoa and all the money we use on the games is well worth it,” Sililauga said.
“We have a real passion for this game and we will do all that we can to develop it.
“We just hope that those invited schools that missed out in today’s tournament will join us next time so they too will play a part in the development of cricket.
“As for those who eagerly came to participate, we promise that after 10-15 years you will have a chance to represent Samoa in the sport if you dedicate yourself or better yet, an overseas scout might pick you up.”