A first for Samoan football
The Samoa U17 Women’s Football team is ready for the Oceania Football Confederation U17 Championships in the Cook Islands.
The team was incredibly focused during their last training session yesterday before they fly out tomorrow for the tournament.
Since the football in Samoa went into the normalisation period, this is the first U17 Woman’s Team under the Football Federation of Samoa.
Its something 15-year-old Kalia Kapisi from Hawaii is “proud” to be a part of.
The team is made up of 21 players, 14 from Samoa and seven from overseas. The local players have been training for months including Adrian Boxier Esene and Talaisea Mulitalo Fogapapa from Savai’i.
Media Liaison Officer and Assistant manager, Tanya Bryce Chadwick, was particularly impressed by the dedication of these players and wanted others in Savai’i to see them as examples of where football can take them.
Players from overseas joined the locals in training this week and include two from Hawaii, another two from New Zealand and three from Australia.
With the short period of time training as an entire team there has been a strong emphasis on developing team cohesion.
Maddy Ah Ki, 13-year-old from Brisbane who has already represented Samoa in the U20 Woman’s Football team, said that the pool sessions and team dinners had been a key part of this.
Coach Nadia Malifa has also seen the team come together since the overseas player arrived. “They’ve picked up so much in the bonding over the two weeks,” she said. She is confident in the team and hopes that they win all of their games, “especially the game against New Zealand”.
After this first game against New Zealand they will comes up against Tonga followed by New Caledonia. Semi-finals and finals will subsequently be played against the other pool and the winner will then go on to represent Oceania in the FIFA U/17 World Cup.
Following the Championships the local players will fly home to Samoa on the 26 January.
Bryce Chadwick is very confident in the team especially after a strong performance in the practice match against U/20, senior and overseas players on Wednesday-they won 3:1. She also asked for Samoa to support the team on their trip.
“These girls are young and we request family and friends of FFS to pray and have us in their thoughts.”