Manu coach picks Lakapi Champs "dream team"
Following the success of the Lakapi Championship, Manu Samoa Coach, Mapusua Seilala Mapusua, has selected his "dream team" from the best players in the competition.
The Apolima team dominates the list with five of their players making the cut. Mapusua's dream team includes: Agape Peleseuma (Upolu), Jenny Taateo (Manono), Raymond Salu (Upolu), Miracle Faiilagi (Manono), Theodore MacFarland (Upolu), Gordon Langkilde (Apolima), Mark Tusigaigoa (Upolu), Heing Faanoi (Apolima), Des Sepulona (Savaii), Patrick Faapale (Apolima), Joe Perez (Manono), Tila Mealoi (Manono), Samu Iosua (Apolima), Tuna Tuitama (Apolima), and Elisapeta Alofipo (Savaii).
"They not only played well in their positions but also the effect that they have on their teams which is why I selected them," Mapusua told the Observer Sports.
Mapusua, who is on his first year as Manu Samoa coach, was a very interested spectator at the games. Freshly out of quarantine, the former Manu Samoa midfielder dived into his new role, working with different teams to help them.
"I based it purely on their positions and what they were doing hence why it's a dream team," said Mapusua.
"It wasn't based on who won because that's unfair for the individuals."
The Manu Samoa Coach gave the tournament a pass mark saying there is a lot of potential in Samoa.
"Heine and Gordon worked tirelessly, again their work has always been noticed, and it's all the work that they do off the ball as well.
"With Patrick in terms of the tens, that he was controlling the game, he had a great performance against Upolu, best individual performance of the tournament is when they were down to 14 men and he was still able to control their game. I like the rest of them, the Manono boys played really well," he said, offering an explanation about his selection.
"The Upolu boys played pretty well, I think Tusigaigoa is a really exciting prospect. I was very impressed with Mark in terms of his work, I think he might have the highest tackle count. His energy to get back to his feet and back to the game is why he got the nod there."
Speedster Elisapeta Alofipo also impressed the coach.
"In his games position, I thought he was very good. For me, he stood out because of his skills. He can control the game. As I said, there is always gonna be a lot of questions and it's great for the game. Malu could've easily been the 15th player because I don't think he missed a kick in his games. Malu could've easily been in that dream team, it was really tough," said Mapusua.
"I think the hard thing for me was getting to know these boys. When I arrived, I only knew the boys that represented the Manu in the past. I had no idea of who these boys were I just watched them and see what they do on the field."
Mapusua emphasised that the team is a "dream team," which means its who he thought were outstanding during the Lakapi Championship.
"It is just my thoughts on which players really stood out. They're not going anywhere they're not gonna play any game. I really wanna stressed that it was really difficult and there are about three guys that in every single position that they could've been there.
"Part of my job is making these difficult decisions and these are the 15 that I have selected and I'm pretty happy with this dream team. It's a very fine line between these boys and the next team. It only means that our rugby is heading in the right direction."
Lastly, Mapusua said the main message he wants to get across is that he could only choose 15.
"This is part of the job I guess."