Samoa to host 2021 Polynesian Cup and FIBA Oceania qualifiers
Samoa has won the bid to host two major regional basketball tournaments next year with Samoa Basketball Federation confirming the 2021 Polynesian Cup and the FIBA Oceania qualifying tournament will be coming to our shores.
Samoa Basketball Federation President, Pauga Talalelei Pauga, has confirmed in an interview with the Samoa Observer that the country will host the Polynesian Cup in September 2021 and the FIBA Oceania qualifying tournament three months later.
He said the Polynesian Cup will feature teams from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Tahiti Tonga, and Samoa with the top two qualifying for the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.
“For the FIBA Oceania the top eight nations in the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand will participate with the top four to qualify to the Asia Cup vying for a place in the World Cup. Australia is the current world champion and Asia champion," he said.
According to a media statement issued by FIBA, the 2021 FIBA Polynesian Cup bid was awarded to Samoa to host from 6-10 September next year as the code’s governing body was impressed with Samoa’s successful hosting of the previous Polynesian Cup in 2018 and the XVI 2019 Pacific Games.
Pauga said it was important that Samoa continued from where it left off from last year’s Pacific Games, especially in terms of the support staff and facilities on offer.
"We feel that we want to continue where we left off from the Pacific Games 2019 with all the locally trained officials we have and as well the amazing facility right there. Also with the experience from the 2018 Poly Cup – we feel we can improve a lot and host another successful Poly Cup.”
Pauga revealed that the Government is encouraging sporting federations to host more international events in the country, which pushed them to bid for the hosting rights of the regional competition.
"We are honored to once again win the right to host and the trust FIBA has on us. The Government encouraged us to host more games that involve the Polynesian Region,” he added.
“With the previous events we were able to leave a legacy that helps boost basketball in Samoa. These events also help Samoa with our economy with all visitors coming into our country. We will make sure we do our best to host another successful event of basketball.”
The 2021 FIBA Polynesian Cup is the qualifier to the 2023 Pacific Games, with the latter serving as the official qualifier to the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.
FIBA Oceania Executive Director David Crocker shared his appreciation and confidence in Samoa for their dedication and desire to host regional competitions.
"We are confident and delighted to have Samoa host the FIBA Polynesian Cup in 2021. Samoa is one of the fastest developing basketball nations in the region. With their experience in the last couple of years, we are expecting another successful and impressive event next year," he said.
Pauga also acknowledged the challenges of being host but stressed the importance of the national team's performance during the games.
"We want to start our preparation now both for Samoa as the host nation and as well our teams. We want to perform and play well in front of our home crowd. We will review our performances from the last Poly Cup and the Pacific Games - at least we now know where to improve on and we want to start right away so we don't get a repetition of those issues from the past," he emphasised.