Thank you Toa Samoa, our champions

By The Editorial Board 21 November 2022, 1:00PM

Samoa salutes you Toa Samoa.

You may not have won the final of the Rugby League World Cup but to the people of Samoa and Samoans all over the world, you are our champions.

Thanks to coach Matt Parish and his brigade of young players led by inspirational captain Junior Paulo, the world over now knows where Samoa is.

A tiny speck on the world map has managed to achieve a great feat that no other Pacific island nation has been able to do.

For the final itself, congratulations to the Kangaroos who played like a team and victory was not easy as our boys put up a tough fight.

Some will argue that the referee is to blame and should he had seen the foot in touch when Jarome Luai kicked the 40/20, things would have been different but the game is over and we have our champions.

Matt Parish fought against the odds to have his team reach the final. There were injury scares and a depleted team but the true Samoan spirit overcame all that.

The average age for the Toa Samoa players is still quite young and a large number of the players still have at least another two to three World Cups to go. We still have a chance to put our hands on the silverware in the future.

If you can recall the days when nations were announcing their teams, a large number of our players had been drafted and named in the Kangaroos squad.

Kudos to our boys who chose to play for the nation of their origin and showing Pacific players that there is a special kind of drive when you play for home, culture and family.

The Australians did not only fight a spirited Samoan team but battled the crowd which had thrown its weight behind our boys. This goes to show the awareness that has been created on how to find our tiny little paradise.

James Faiumu, a young Samoan studying at the University of Essex now has no issues explaining where he comes from. He often had to make reference to Dwayne Johnson or the animated movie Moana to tell his colleagues where his home was.

Now he has no need to do that. Most people in England now know where Samoa is.

The impact made by Toa Samoa by just reaching the final is immense. This is an opportunity for tourism authorities to ride on this wave of popularity and get people to our shores.

This also creates a pathway for many young Samoans to find a career in rugby league as well. For Samoa Rugby League, there could be no greater time to develop the sport in the nation and partner NRL clubs to provide a schools pathway for young Samoans to be attached to clubs in Australia.

Locally, the Toa Samoa fever also had a positive impact on the economy. Samoan flags were sold out, blue shirts, Toa Samoa jerseys and tee-shirts and other merchandise were bought at record levels.

Retailers of alcohol have been happy all week long.

There is only one thing left that would put the icing on the cake and that would be to have our boys come home and celebrate their achievements with the people of this nation.

The cabinet can surely come up with a plan to do this. The government also needs to reward this team.

Imagine having a day to celebrate with the team. Tourism authorities can promote this day to the many Samoans the world over and ask them to join its people by coming to Samoa. Negotiations can start with tourism and airline operators to provide package deals for this cause only.

Our people at home and around the world have rallied behind Toa Samoa. The Pacific has rallied behind this team. Surely, the government can work out a way to bring the boys home and when this happens, Samoa will once again be on top of the world.

But before that, the Government needs to issue a statement thanking the team.

Thank you Toa Samoa, you have made Samoans all over the world feel like champions. 

By The Editorial Board 21 November 2022, 1:00PM
Samoa Observer

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