Samoa U-23 men's football team head to Fiji for Olympic qualifiers
Football Federation Samoa has announced its squad for the upcoming U-23 men Olympic football qualifiers tournament in Fiji.
Head coach, Desmond Edward told Samoa Observer that the team has been training for the past weeks in the lead-up to the tournament next week.
“Well our team is getting ready to leave the country for the qualifying Olympic tournament in Fiji and the team is ready for the competition," he said.
The team comprises both local and overseas players from competitions in Australia and New Zealand.
"The preparation has been great like. Fitness, skills and other things they need for the tournament is good,” he added.
Edward said the team was put together within two months and Football Federation Samoa is confident they will do well in the regional tournament.
The national team's first game is against the U-23 New Zealand team on September 20.
Four overseas players – some of whom played with Samoa in the 2019 Pacific Games – were selected by Football Federation Samoa to again represent the country.
"All the teams that are participating in the tournament are from Pacific nations, and Samoa pool games include New Zealand, Solomon Islands and American Samoa," Mr. Edward said.
Harlen Russell, who plays as a defender, said he feels great and proud to play for Samoa.
"It was great training with the boys and seeing how much they have put into their training, also having Des as a coach."
Nineteen-year-old midfielder Darcy Knight said he played football all his life and has played club football in New Zealand on top of his international duties for Samoa.
"I got an email from the coach if I can come to represent the country and I am here to do a job to qualify for the Olympics, also I am happy to meet new people and play for Samoa," he said.
Edward told this newspaper their goals to be in the semi- finals and only to teams can win a qualify for the Olympic games, from this tournament.
Tavita Junior Gauvao