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New Office goes up at Tuana'imato Oval

The Samoa International Cricket Association (S.I.C.A.) hopes their new office space will help them see through the tough times ahead in a COVID-19 impacted world.

Construction of the two-story building was funded by the International Cricket Council (I.C.C.), and is set to be completed in the next three or four weeks.

But S.I.C.A. General Manager, Salā Stella Vaea Tagitau said the I.C.C. won’t be in a position to offer that sort of help in the foreseeable future because so many of their events have been cancelled or postponed.

“All the money that comes from the TV rights, that was disbursed down to the members,” Salā said.

“This year, the next two quarters will be tough, but next year will be even tougher.”

Limited space to fit the new office building among the cricket ovals and existing toilet block meant one of three practice nets had to be removed.

“Two is sufficient. Our next project is to renovate the nets,” Salā said.

Cricket in Samoa was put on hold to comply with the Government’s state of emergency restrictions, which were lifted for non-contact sports this week.

Salā said it was a challenging time for the Association but they were able to avoid laying off any staff.

She said the cessation of cricket operations created a window in which S.I.C.A. could get other things done like refresher training courses for their staff and volunteers:

“Quite a lot of things that we wanted to do but there was no time to do it.”

And soon enough they will have a new base to conduct those courses in, with the new office building allowing a move from archery’s premises next-door.

Salā is entering her seventh year at the head of the sport, and said S.I.C.A. have had to shift their office four times during her tenure.

“I felt that we need to have a solid base to work from,” she said.                                                             

“I guess we were at the point where we were tired of being pushed around.

“There’s great potential for the sport to develop and grow in Samoa.”

That growth will be kept to the grassroots level for the time being, given the travel restrictions COVID-19 has forced around the region and world.

The men’s national team are supposed to compete in the East-Asia Pacific regional World Cup qualifier in August in Australia, but whether that competition can go ahead is unclear.

In the women’s game, Samoa’s 2019 Pacific Games champions were due to compete in the Pacific Cup in Fiji this month, part of a new regional initiative to get more games for the national representatives.

“What we’re trying to do with our high-performance, is every year to have an opportunity for our players to play instead of waiting every year for the regional qualifier,” Salā said.

On the domestic front, the 13-team Apia women’s league which began in February will be resuming on the Saturday after Mother’s Day.

S.I.C.A.’s development programmes will pick up again when they can.

“We have to start slowly…, have a feel of what it’s like out there with our partners, especially the schools,” Salā said, noting primary and secondary education providers will be looking to make up for lost time in the classroom.

“We just have to play it by ear… see where we can fit in.”

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