Controversial end to exciting year for Lupe o Le Soaga football club
After a difficult end to the Upolu National Football Men’s Premier League, Lupe o le Soaga Samoa Rush are excited about the future.
The club had their prizegiving yesterday, celebrating their achievements over the 2018 season.
Club secretary and team manager Fuata Lai said they were pleased to have fielded teams for all the Samoan divisions and tournaments this year.
But the 2nd place result in the Men’s Premier League on goal difference has been difficult for the club to swallow.
“It’s a very frustrating issue, we’ve already discussed it with Football Federation Samoa (F.F.S.) having lodged a complaint.”
Lupe had two wins by default in the league, for which they were awarded a pair of 3-0 wins.
However title rivals Kiwi FC scored 29 goals to nil over the same fixtures, giving them a major advantage in goal difference.
Lai said not getting the chance to play those games cost Lupe the championship.
“Teams just staying home without any good excuse, it’s like match-fixing.
“Nothing in the regulations covered that sort of issue.”
Lai said they’ve rescinded their complaint after talking through options for the future with Football Federation Samoa.
“We mainly wanted to make sure the same thing doesn’t pop up again next year.”
He said despite harbouring no hard feelings towards Kiwi FC, everyone in the football community knows they weren’t deserving winners.
“Even at the F.F.S. prizegiving when they were called out as the winners, no one was cheering.
“It hurts because we’ve been fighting, right up to the end.”
Lai said it was especially frustrating given the partnership formed with Rush Soccer in July.
“We wanted the top prize to give back something to Rush.”
Lupe signed a deal with the American organisation in order to improve player development.
“They’ll run tournaments, workshops, development programmes for soccer,” Lai said.
“We see this as an opportunity for the players, not only for Lupe o le Soaga, but the whole Federation.”
Rush Soccer run an open tournament amongst all their partner clubs in Africa, Europe, Asia, North, South and Central America.
“There will be scouts there from all the US colleges, so it’s a great opportunity for the youth to push for scholarships,” said Lai.
“Not only do they learn the sport of soccer, but getting a good education as well.”
Lupe o le Soaga Samoa
Rush 2018 Awards
Under 10 Best Player
– Breen Vaonuu
Under 13 Best Player
– Falani Cedric Antonio
Under 17 Best Player
– Bitner Tafili
Men’s Under 20 Best Player
– Poai Isaako Sione Te’o
Women’s Under 20 Best Player
– Afioga Ene
1st Division Men’s Team Best Player – Fepa’i Taavili
National League Women’s Most Valuable Player – Linda Fiafia
National League Men’s Most Valuable Player – Vaa Taualai
Most Improved Player – Tanoai Joe Tauati
Best Conduct and All Year Rounder Player – Vaalii Faalogo
Coach of the Year – Fa’aeanuu Paul Ualesi