Young basketballers celebrate success

The young men of the 'Sulu o le Malamalama' Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) in Saoluafata are celebrating yet another sports championship title.

It follows their Under-12 boys squad winning the cup in the Jamboree Youth Basketball Tournament last week.

Saoluafata played seven games at the Jamboree and were undefeated throughout the tournament that closed last Saturday in Tuanaimato. They took home the U-12 championship trophy and gold medals.

Two Saoluafata players were named Most Valuable Player (M.V.P.), 10-year-old Fualili Silao, and 11-year-old Tafoti Iosefa.

"I feel so happy that we won but I also feel humbled," Tafoti told the Samoa Observer. "I played a lot of defense and I scored two points in the championship game."

Tafoti is the son of Iosefa Iosefa and Alofa Iosefa. Asked if he looks forward to playing basketball when he gets older, Tafoti said no because he has other plans.

"{I like this sport. I don't like rugby but I like basketball," he said. "But when I get older, I will change my sport and play another game."

His 10-year-old teammate, however, seems to like the sport and urges others to play basketball. Fualili likes training and staying fit.

"I feel so happy and I am filled with pride. I am thankful for our village, our church, our parents, our supporters who prayed for us when we went to play. None of us got hurt during our games," said Fualili.

His parents are Silao Silao and Faatasiga Silao. The Saoluafata C.C.C.S. has a basketball court next to their church building where the boys practice every day.

"I am new to the game," Fualili said. "This is where we practice every day. We train and practice once a day in the evenings. We train each day and our coach leads us...he teaches us how to pass the ball and how to play defense."

He said the hardest part about playing basketball is when they are up against teams with a strong offense.

"The hardest part about this game is when we face teams who come with a strong attack game. Our defense has to be strong when we face those teams," said Fualili.

He encourages his teammates to train hard and play with good sportsmanship.

"I encourage my teammates to train hard and commit to training every day. We also need to be good sports," Fualili said.

As for the food of a champion athlete, he suggests apples, oranges, bananas, and lots of water.

"For us who play, we need to eat balanced meals or we will be out of breath when we run. The best food I can think of are apples, oranges, and bananas. That is what we eat after we play our games. And water, lots of water. You need lots of water to keep your throat moist," Fualili said.

The Saoluafata C.C.C.S. Under-12 championship squad is coached by a student at Pesega College.

The Jamboree tournament was hosted by the Samoa National Basketball Association (S.N.B.A.) at Gym 2 in Tuanaimato. 


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