A day and game to remember
The game on Saturday might not have turned out to be what everyone expected, but it was a day to remember by the 10 debutant players of the Manu Samoa team.
They all had the chance to be on the field during the last half of the battle against Georgia on Saturday in front of the whole nation.
And that was an experience most of them will never forget.
For Malu Falaniko, he said he was nervous about going on the field yesterday, an hour before the game started.
“But as soon as the game started, I saw how my other brothers played to the best of their ability and that eased all the nervousness away,” he said.
The 19-year-old from Savai’i said he was extremely excited when he got the chance to go onto the field on Saturday.
“It has been always a dream I had to play for the Manu Samoa, and on Saturday, that dream came true and I am grateful to God for providing me with the strength, courage and energy to play.
“I will always remember this day because I got to play for our national team for the first time, and it’s even better because my family and friends were here and the whole country was cheering for us and it was an amazing feeling. “Even though I wasn’t on the field for the long, I am truly honoured and grateful to the coach and the management for giving me the opportunity to play and represent our country.
“I was excited when I first ran onto the field when they called me up to play. It was a different feeling. My heart was beating very fast seeing the crowd and how crazy they were cheering for us, and that calmed my nerves down and I played to the best of my ability to make my family proud.”
And the youngest player out of the 23 squad who played against Georgia, D’Angelo Leuila confessed to the same feeling.
“It was an overwhelming feeling,” he said. “It felt great, it was a golden opportunity for me not only as a young player but also a Samoan to be wearing the blue jersey and playing on the field in front of the whole country for the first time.
“The feeling that I had inside was indescribable. I was a bit nervous at first, but I was excited when the game started and I couldn’t wait to go on and play.”
The 19-year-old was happy with the result of the game on Saturday. “The boys did well,” he said. “They tried their best and you can’t ask for more, I mean they played their hearts out on that field and tried the best they could.”
He also agreed with Malu; he will always remember the game on Saturday.
“Although I wasn’t on the field for that long, I was honoured and humbled by the opportunity given to me to play. This is something I will always remember and it was a special day for me.”
The captain of the Manu Samoa, David Lemi also agreed that the game on Saturday was a special day for the debutant boys.
And he wanted to congratulate all of them for putting up their hands to play for the country.
“The best thing to me about this game is that most of the players in our team are young and were playing for the first time for our country,” the veteran winger said.
“They might be young, but they were determined to do the job to the best of their ability. They made a really good effort on Saturday. The big and experienced players from Georgia’s team did not scare them or keep them from performing to the best of their ability. “I want to congratulate them and I am proud of the way they performed and the way they played. Like we said before, this is just the beginning of their journey and we learnt a thing or two from this game to help us move forward as a team.”