Mapusua's job on the line

By Shalveen Chand 19 February 2024, 4:22PM

Lakapi Samoa has started their hunt for a new head coach who they feel would be able to take Manu Samoa 15s in the direction they want to.

It seems that Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua’s future with Lakapi Samoa is drawing to an end as his contract expires at the end of the year and in the meantime, his post has been advertised. Lakapi Samoa has not specified if Vaovasamanaia would be re-considered but has been told he was free to apply for the post.

The Lakapi Samoa board’s decision comes after the dismal performance of Manu Samoa in the Rugby World Cup last year. The team finished fourth in its pool meaning they will have to go through the qualifiers again.

Vaovasamanaia had selected based overseas with only one local-based player. Lakapi Samoa suggested in a statement that one of the reasons for this decision was the development of local players for the 15s game.

In a statement issued by Lakapi Samoa after Samoa Observer sent questions regarding the future of the head coach, Lakapi said the future of the Manu Samoa XVs programme under the leadership of the Head Coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua and his management team has been decided in a recent Lakapi Samoa board meeting.

“Mapusua was recruited from Otago, New Zealand is contracted until the end of 2024. He was tasked with qualifying and leading our Manu Samoa XVs since 2020 to the recent RWC 2023 in France, and to qualify the team for RWC 2027,” said Lakapi Samoa.

Lakapi Samoa Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai said the board’s decision is for the vision and the future of Manu Samoa.

“The Lakapi Samoa board has had to make a difficult decision in view of the team results and campaign at RWC but also equally important was the consideration of the future and the challenges facing the XV’s Game in Samoa for locally based players moving forward,” he said.

“We can only pick ourselves up and look to continue with areas that worked well and which areas and lessons can we use to produce results for success for Manu Samoa moving forward.”

The statement further read that the board’s decision will not negate or stop what has been planned for the Manu Samoa 2024 program and the current head coach and his management are all encouraged to re-apply.

Attempts to get a comment from Vaovasamanaia at this point have been unsuccessful. It is also unclear if he would be applying for the post again or pursue a career abroad.

By Shalveen Chand 19 February 2024, 4:22PM
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