Touch World Cup campaign at risk without funding

Samoa could have to forgo their place at the 2019 Touch World Cup in Malaysia next month without funding from the government or corporate sponsors.

Samoa Touch Rugby Incorporated have started a RallyMe campaign online, looking to gain support from the public in their bid to raise the $250,000 tala they require for the men’s and women’s team’s World Cup campaigns.

STRI president Mailata Michael Wulf said the RallyMe campaign is somewhat of a last resort.

“It’s part of our fundraising to engage with the touch community and people willing to support our campaign.”

He said the worst case scenario from here would be either the men’s or women’s team forfeiting their place at the World Cup.

“That would be a really hard decision, both teams have put in so much hard work.

“It would be a lot of work wasted.”

Mailata said the teams have been building up to the World Cup since last February when their invites to the tournament were confirmed.

“That’s when preparations started with trials and finding coaches.”

He said despite the difficulties in gathering funds, they were still confident of pulling through to make it to the World Cup.

“Especially with government hopefully getting on board and the business community.

“Plus people hearing our story and spreading the word.”

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Mailata said they were still waiting to hear from the Samoan government and several potential corporate sponsors, who they made proposals to last year.

“We’ve sent out 50 letters requesting sponsorship.”

He said they’ve also reached out to the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, and the Chinese Embassy.

“At the moment we’re struggling to finalise everything for the trip.

“We’ve paid deposits for accommodation and flights.”

The cost for the players is $6,500 tala each.

“The majority of the players, they cannot afford all the expenses,” Mailata said.

He said both the men’s and women’s teams, as well as Samoa’s mixed team which is heading over from Queensland to compete, are hoping to get a medal at the World Cup.

“We have the potential to be able to compete at that top level against Australia and New Zealand.

“The talent that we have now and coaches we have in place is the best yet.”

Mailata said top five in each of the three divisions was a reasonable goal.

He said they need to get to the World Cup to give them a competitive advantage coming back to the Pacific Games in July, where three gold medals is the aim.

“Fiji, the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea are also attending the World Cup.

“We need the exposure of playing the top competition from outside the region.”

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