Coach gamble failed
Manu Samoa coach, Namulaulu Alama Ieremia, relied on the experienced players to help Samoa qualify for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Unfortunately that did not happen. What will happen next was to be determined during a Samoa Rugby Union Board meeting held last night.
During an interview with the Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, he said the issue would definitely be up for discussion.
With the Chairman and P.M. Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi having already backed Namulauulu publically, Faleomavaega was coy on his views.
“It’s not for me to say,” he responded when asked for his thoughts about the future of the coach.
“I think the issue was the selection of the players and that’s what the coach needs to look at.
“When he first came, his mission was to qualify Samoa for the World Cup using the experienced players and for the Manu Samoa team to prepare to bring in new players.
“He’s relied mostly on the senior players to qualify us for the World Cup. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened and that’s what we need to look at.”
The C.E.O admitted that the results have been poor and the loss against Fiji last week was devastating not just for the team but also the nation.
But the C.E.O stopped short of blaming anyone in particular. He said even he is looking at the administration side if they could have done anything that might have changed the outcome.
“We need to ask whether we’ve got the right players. And have we supported them in everything they wanted? The financial packages, everything to do with the team.”
Faleomavaega is adamant that the team was well looked after.
“They got everything that you would expect from an international team.
“Whatever they asked for from the Union we supplied. Even with the travel arrangements, and the hosting of the players and paying their weekly allowances.”
Asked about his part, he said: “My role is the administrative side of things and I don’t have anything to do with operational side of things.
“My role is to look for the money and give the team the support in what they do.
“However at the end of the day, it’s the coach that makes that decision.
“Ultimately it’s the coach that makes all the decisions. We would like to see more of our local players and that’s the coach’s decision.”
Faleomavaega also highlighted the issue of players being undecided about where they want to play.
“The coach does reach out to the Samoan players and a lot of them are all sitting on the fence. They are not sure whether they want to play for us or not.
“But one thing for sure, when its closer to the World Cup, they all want to jump in and want to represent Samoa for the rugby World Cup, especially those Samoans playing for New Zealand and Australia.
“Most of the players, that’s the reality of where we are. When it comes to New Zealand and Australian teams, they are cautious too, they don't want to give an opportunity for any Samoan player who doesn't intend to stay on board with their team.
“They choose only the players who aspire to play for New Zealand or Australia. Once you declare which team you are playing for, there’s undue pressure behind the scene.
“That’s why our coach goes to Europe to get our Manu Samoa players.”
Asked about last night’s board meeting, Faleomavaega said a lot of issues were discussed.
They varied from the Manu Samoa games, Sevens and how the campaign went.
“There’s also the under 20’s and our new Sevens Coach, trying to find himself, and his move on merging the overseas and local players. These are some of the issues that will be deliberated.”