Ott Construction Tama Uli raring and ready
Salelologa team Ott Construction Tama Uli says it is ready for the 32nd Vailima Marist International Sevens this weekend.
The team’s head coach, Matamua Junior Salima, said they were looking forward to the tournament but had concerns about the venue, especially with the bad weather setting in.
"We are looking forward to the upcoming Marist 7s and we have prepared for this tournament for some time now," he told the Samoa Observer. "Our only hope is for the committee to consider another venue (for the tournament) since it's expensive to join the tournament and the weather adding up to it.”
Matamua said $2,000 is for team’s registration and $30,000 was their budget to prepare the team for the tournament.
"Last year our aim was to be the first team from Savai’i to reach the Cup Quarter Finals but we reached the finals instead. And now we are aiming to take one step further and to become the first team from Savai’i to win this tournament," he said.
But the team has a few hurdles to overcome in the lead-up to the tournament starting on Friday, especially with injuries to some members of the squad, and a tournament policy to not field current Manu Samoa 7s squad members.
"The challenge now is injuries to the current squad and also our Manu Samoa 7s players are not allowed to play this is by the management of the Sevens," he added.
The Tama Uli have five players in the Manu Samoa 7s squad. They are Elisapeta Alofipo, Tofatuimoana Solia, Uaina Sione, Pesamino Iakopo and Kirisimasi Savaiinaea.
Disappointed with the tournament policy, Matamua said they will move on with their young squad and strive to meet the expectations of the tournament.
The team’s captain, Vaovasa Afa Sua, said despite his teammates not being able to play he believes the show should go on.
"I feel bad for my brothers who won't be playing, but I believe that I also have the best team here with me, and we have been preparing for this tournament for so long, so there is no turning back now," he said.
The team’s objective is to do their best to ensure the tournament cup is taken back to the big island by coming out on top, added Vaovasa.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone back home, our families, village and our supporters for always being by our side and we are hoping to achieve our goal this time around," he said.
Their current squad for the Marist 7s 2020 are Vaovasa Afa Sua, Kirisimasi Savaiinaea, Peato Toeafe, Mikaele Toilolo, Gasologa Pelenato, Des Sepulona, Meleniuma Faaifo Sua, Aieni Toeafe, Pesamino Iakopo, Paulo Toilolo, Kelvin Masoe, Tipa Sapeti, Frank Tato, Meki Magele, Elisapeta Alofipo, Tofatuimoana Solia, Uaina Sione.
The Tama Uli are staying at the SAL Village lodge at Vaitoloa to await the tournament on Friday.