Referees cheering on Samoan women’s Football team.
It will be a proud moment for two Samoan referees, Maria Akenese Salamasina and Malaetala Salanoa, as they will officiate in the upcoming Oceania Olympic Qualifiers football tournament in front of their friends and family.
However, if Samoa makes it to the final, they would be ineligible to officiate the match.
“In reality, there’s a different perception between referees and national teams, especially if they are from the same country. We can not officiate if Samoa makes the finals but I want Samoa to make it into the finals,” said Salanoa.
Despite Salanoa’s mixed feelings about the positions, he is confident that the Samoa women’s team will make it into the finals and wants the girls to know that they should be strong, "Fa'amalosi!"
Salamasina, who also backs Salanoa, said that she would be extremely proud and happy if Samoa did make the finals.
“My personal goal for this tournament is to be chosen as one of the linesmen to officiate a finals match, but if our team Samoa makes the finals, I will still be happy and support them,” said Salamasina.
Both referees have been proudly representing Samoa as match officials for quite some time now. They’re thrilled to be working alongside each other as assistant referees or linesmen at this prestigious tournament, especially here on home soil.
“There’s no other feeling like it - to be from the host country and be a part of it,” said Salanoa.
For them, it's an honour to be a part of this event and contribute to the success of the tournament.
Salamasina added that she is very proud of her achievements in the sport, and not only will she be representing her family, FFS, but also Samoa.
"I'm not only proud of myself, but I am also proud of representing the Pacific," said Salamasina.
Preparations for Salanoa and Salamasina have consisted of medium to high levels of fitness training three to four times a week leading up to the tournament, all while also ensuring that they take care of themselves and not injure themselves beforehand.
Salamasina also added the importance of training not only as a match official but also to stay healthy and fit for her two younger boys.
Her experience with match officiating has been seen through two Women's World Cups and four Under 20s World Cups which she has also represented as one of the only Samoans to officiate a match as linesman. Salanoa has officiated more than 10 international football matches for the Oceania Football Confederation, with his first match as a linesman in 2017, nominated by OFC.
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