Samoa as a basketball nation is a country on the rise with a string of strong performances over the last few years in the Oceania region.
Through their performances in recent F.I.B.A events, Samoa has seen great improvement in world stage rankings.
F.I.B.A Media reports that the Samoan Under 18 Nike team has leapt 10 places forward to 83rd in the world overcoming the likes of Singapore, Morocco and Fiji following the FIBA U18 Oceania Championships 2016.
The improvement did not stop in the boy’s division, with the girl’s Nike World Ranking improving 18 positions as of December 2016.
Samoa now sits ahead of teams such as Bulgaria, Estonia and Fiji to come in at number 71 in the world.
In both cases, aside from Fiji, these other nations are playing in regular, high-level competition – making Samoa’s rise all the more significant.
This improvement is off the back of a 3rd place (girls) and 5th placed (boys) finish in the 2016 event – and the improvement won’t stop there. With the girls backing up with another bronze and the boys improving to 4th in the 2017 events. (Rankings will be updated following the summer of events for FIBA).
With such achievement like these, credit goes to the coaching development in the country. Samoa National Basketball Federation (SNBF) President, Talalelei Pauga has started a beginner coaching course in Samoa called “Start Coaching Basketball”.
This has been put in place to help develop basketball knowledge for potential local coaches so they can get involved in basketball.
Annie La Fleur, F.I.B.A in Oceania Development Manager, was invited to Samoa to help further develop the Samoan coaching pathway following the initial strong interest and overwhelming success of the “Start Coaching Basketball” program by the S.N.B.F.
During her time in Samoa, La Fleur helped to conduct a “Rookie Coach Course” for 17 participants.
The course built upon the “Start Coaching Basketball” platform through both theoretical and practical coach education sessions, with La Fleur able to impact on the participants her extensive experience at the highest levels of the sport.
“It’s fantastic that the Federation is really focusing on coach development,” said La Fleur. “We have seen Samoa’s youth national teams show great improvement in recent years, but in order to continue that trend there needs to be continual development locally.”
“The Start Coaching Basketball and Rookie Coach Course are good pathways to bring new coaches to the sport and further the education of coaches who are already involved.”
La Fleur also worked one-on-one with the Federation’s National Basketball Development Officer (NBDO), Linda Kelsall on the Federations development plan and completing FIBA’s 3x3 Academy training program. Following Samoa’s impressive results in 2017, the teams will now participate in further competitions in Asia in 2018– which will no doubt see their world ranking continue to rise.