Samoa touch teams heading to England

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 19 April 2024, 8:00AM

Samoa is sending three teams to the 2024 Touch World Cup at the University of Nottingham’s Highfields in England in July.

This event marks the return of the tournament after its last edition in Putrajaya, Malaysia, in 2019, where 120 teams from around the world contested across 11 divisions.

President of Samoa Touch, Matiu Tuileva Tuileva, said their main focus is getting Samoa's three teams to England despite the financial challenges.

"The World Cup is where the countries get their ranking, much like any other sports World Cup, like rugby and rugby league. It's important to have our name up there on the board and get that world ranking," said Matiu.

In 2019's World Cup, Samoa's Open Mix team ranked in the world's top five , leaving this year's Open Mix team challenged to maintain that ranking.

 "We would like to maintain that ranking or do better, especially coming off a successful Pacific Games competition. We'd like to imitate that success at a much wider stage, global stage, at the World Cup," said Matiu. 

Danny Sititi Karegua and Roseanne Moananu are part of the Open Mix team heading to England.

Karegua, 25, from the village of Alafua, said this will be his first time playing touch at an international level. He is expecting much faster opponents.

"I never thought of making it into the national squad. I'm pretty excited about it. It means a lot. I used to play for a club, but now I'm going to play for a country - representing this country,” said Karegua. 

Roseanne Moananu, 25, from the villages of Vaitele Fou, Falefa and Lalomanu, said it had been a dream of hers to represent Samoa on the world stage.

“It means a lot to be repping Samoa. ⁠I’m looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things, and playing against the best touch players in the world,” said Moananu.

Both players are in their third week of training and have admitted that training has been "brutal" but worth "putting our all" into their preparations for Samoa. 

In addition to their physical preparations, they have also been fundraising for their campaign, which Moananu says "We've got our hands full with preparations."  

"It's no question that financial aid is a big challenge for us. Everyone's facing it and ready to take on this challenge. Physically, mentally and financially," said Karegua. 

All teams are looking at different avenues to fundraise for the World Cup and have reached out to local businesses as well as the government for help. The teams are looking at departing in July ahead of team registrations on 10 July.

The Touch World Cup is from 15 July to 21 July.

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 19 April 2024, 8:00AM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.