Samoa's tag team yet to be finalised
Samoa’s tag team list for the Pacific Tag Tournament in American Samoa is yet to be finalised as there are procedures a player needs to undergo before they make it into the team.
Johannes Uili, who is the secretary for Samoa Tag Incorporated and Pacific Tag Federation, told the Samoa Observer that they have men, women and open mixed teams.
"There were supposed to be five teams going to the Pacific Tag Tournament, however, we are now going to go with just three teams," he said.
“We also have some few donors which will be helping us in preparation for this trip.”
The tag sport is relatively new in Samoa, having been introduced in 2017 and running competitions a year later.
Uili acknowledged that the sport is new in Samoa and added that it is the safest as there is no physical contact between the players.
"The tag rugby is not really popular in Samoa but really popular in other countries, this is one of the safest sports for both females and males," he added.
But the sport has had its challenges since its introduction into the country with Uili revealing that they do not have a manager or a coach for their transgender team.
"There are five divisions and we have three teams going. The other two divisions involves a transgender division. Our problem right now with the transgender team is that we do not have a manager or a coach for the team," he said.
There is also the challenge of overseas teams competing in the tournament using the name ‘Samoa’, despite the fact they don’t represent the country or use local players.
"If they want to play for Samoa, then our doors are always open but there is a team from New Zealand.”
Uili said their goal for the upcoming tournament is to win for Samoa and to make sure the players play their A-game and give it their best.
Their travel to American Samoa and participation in the tournament will be funded by the members of the teams, though they are happy to accept donations from anyone willing to support the cause.
"Our target right now is $30,000 tala because we have 3 teams going for the tournament," Uili added.
Despite the sport’s infancy, Uili said there are signs of growth with the sport convening the Pacific Tag tournament in 2018, the Pacific Tag and Teuila Tag tournaments in 2019 and this year the Teuila Tag and Pacific Tag tournaments as well as the International Tag series.
"For the international tag series, there have been interested regions calling to be a part of it. The United Kingdom, America and Australia and other regions," he said.
Uili said they are still welcoming anyone interested to play in Samoa's tag team and to represent Samoa in the sport. The trials will commence on Saturday, January 18. The team that will participate in the tournament will be named next month.