Cricket U19s compete for World Cup place
Samoa's Under-19 men's cricket team left for Japan yesterday to compete in the East Asia-Pacific World Cup Qualifier.
The winner of the five-team, Fiji, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, tournament will head to the 2020 U19 Cricket World Cup to be held in South Africa.
There they will compete with the likes of India, England and Australia, along with other world leaders in the sport.
Samoa U19 Team Manager, Dean Seuoti, said getting the exposure from that World Cup environment would change everything for the team.
“Getting to rub shoulders with the big names in cricket, that would have a huge impact for these kids."
He said talent scouts from all over would be watching, giving Samoa's players a chance to launch their professional careers.
But first Samoa need to get through the East Asia-Pacific tournament, which Seuoti said they expect to win.
“We’ve never qualified before in the previous tournaments the last few years.
“To rank third going into this tournament gives us a lot of confidence, but we need to work hard to win this tournament."
Papua New Guinea and Fiji finished first and second in the previous edition of the qualifier, and Seuoti said they will be strong competition again this year.
He said for the last few months they have been talking about the challenges the tournament will bring.
“Everyone in this team, this is their first time travelling overseas as far as Japan.
“The food is different, the environment is different, the people are different, the level of cricket is different.
“Those are the challenges we are facing, but we’ve been working hard to get this team on the road, hopefully we’ll get there."
The players were selected from local senior and schoolboy cricket competitions over the last year.
Seuoti said some of the players could make the senior men's squad for the Pacific Games.
“I think it will be a good chance for them to get into that level as well."
He said getting more experience at the international level would only benefit them ahead of the Games in July.
Samoa U19's first game in the East Asia Pacific qualifier is against hosts Japan on June 2nd.
- Sitanisilao Toutai (Lefaga/Don Bosco Technical Centre, Alafua)
- Sean John Niutua (Tuasivi)
- Lester Evile - Captain (Falelauniu/St Joseph’s College)
- Bismarck Sione Leuu (Siusega)
- Falesa Aiaraisa (Falelauniu/Faleata College)
- Fenika Faigame (Vailele)
- Paul Vailigi Rarotoga (Falelauniu)
- Douglas Lemanu (Vailele/Leifiifi College)
- Alataua Lemanu (Vailele/Leifiifi College)
- Tumama Daniel Patrick Tumama (Falelauniu)
- Viiga Sam Viiga (Sagaga College)
- Josef Sam Pita (Lefaga College)
- Timezen Rapi (Lefaga College)
- Vaa Faamatala (Vaipu’a)
- Sililauga Uala Kaisala - Coach
- Dean Seuoti - Manager