It’s time for some accountability

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 26 June 2017, 12:00AM

Now that we’ve had a bit more time to absorb and accept the bitter disappointment of Manu Samoa’s loss to a considerably weakened Wales team at Apia Park last weekend, it’s time to demand some accountability from the Manu Samoa in terms of our recent results.

Yes it’s disappointing that from two test matches; we’ve had no win. 

But that’s not really the point. It’s the way in which these games have been lost that has really incensed supporters here and all over the world.

Last Friday, the outcome at Apia Park was difficult to accept when we think about the proud history of this team at international rugby. 

Despite the humiliating result against the All Blacks, our people kept the faith. They did not give up on the Manu Samoa. They braved the rain to cheer on their boys in blue. 

But what they got was yet another disappointing performance. 

Ladies and gentlemen, you can only stay positive for so long. We can keep telling ourselves that it will come right one day but when you just don’t see that, it’s time to find some answers and fix the problem.

The question is what has happened to the Manu Samoa?

How did a team, which was once the pride of the nation, become such a sad sight to watch? Where did it go wrong? And what can we do from here onwards to lift the performance of this team?

As part of the accountability process, these are questions we have to ask ourselves. And there is no one size fits all kind of answer. There are many answers. 

You have your views and we have ours. Without a doubt, all these views matter from issues with the coaching staff, players, administration, S.R.U and so forth.

All these points are valid – as long as they are presented constructively - and no doubt, they will all contribute towards a better Manu Samoa.

The frontpage story in yesterday’s Samoa Observer, where coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia expressed how gutted he was about the result pretty much sums up the feeling on these shores. 

It was good to see the coach fronting up. At the end of the day, win or lose, he is responsible. And so are the players – especially some of the senior players in the team. Some of them really let their teammates down on Friday night.

It seems everyone else is being held accountable except for the players. They too must be held accountable for their performance. Judging by the way they played on Friday night, some senior players should seriously reconsider their desire to continue. 

No one would question their commitment to the jersey. They have served Samoa well and we say thank you. 

But let’s be realistic, there is a reason why used by dates are important. Just because you’re expired doesn’t mean you are bad. It’s just that your time is up and maybe it’s time to let someone else have a go. 

Besides, rugby nowadays is such a fast paced sport made for young men who are full of energy. Look at how young guys like Rieko Ioane and the lads his age are wreaking havoc on their opponents. Manu Samoa can learn a lot from that.

Aside from the players, from where we stand, we believe that we can get all technical until we are blue in the face but if we don’t fix the foundational issues within Samoan rugby, this Manu Samoa team is not going anywhere in a hurry.

The same goes for all the other teams - including the Manu Samoa Sevens. 

The point is that we cannot just blame the coaching staff and the players. To do so would be foolish. 

You see winning teams and champion teams are often determined by policies and plans decided within boardrooms. 

In this case, the buck stops with the Samoa Rugby Union.  The point is that it’s not just Manu Samoa. It’s about Samoan rugby, the processes, transparency, accountability and what needs to be done right. 

And it comes down to the little things such as the treatment of young players like Ethan Edward Lolesio. Think of Ethan as the future of Samoan rugby. What hope does Manu Samoa have if he is mistreated at that young age? 

Samoan rugby has got to get better. The systems have got to be better. And it’s more than just changing coaches.

Over the years, we’ve changed countless coaches. We’ve lost count of how many coaches have been sacked and changed and yet the results have remained poor.

We can sack Namulauulu tomorrow and we guarantee you that the results will remain the same. Only until the system is fixed, then we will start to see some results.

What do you think?

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 26 June 2017, 12:00AM

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