Polynesian Cup postponed, but Samoan basketball looks forward
The President of the Samoa Basketball Federation, Pauga Talalelei Pauga, has confirmed the Polynesian Cup has been postponed but not cancelled due to pandemic border restrictions.
"It was not cancelled, it was postponed due to uncertainty over COVID-19 for borders," he said.
"But it is deferred to early February 2022, and it is still to be hosted in Samoa.”
Samoa had two events it was intending to host this year: the Polynesian Cup and the International Basketball Federation (F.I.B.A.) U-17 Oceania championship.
Pauga confirmed with this newspaper that they are still ready to host the F.I.B.A. U-17 event later this year, likely December.
"We [also] have a big event in August [or] September - but we keep it a secret for now until our special launch in June," he said.
"We now have National Clubs from now till June together with Primary Compt and Secondary Competition. Then a special female program in July."
Pauga told the Samoa Observer the teams that the Polynesian Cup will included representative competitors from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, and Samoa. The top two will qualify for the 2023 Pacific Games, to be hosted in the Solomon Islands.
A statement released by F.I.B.A. stated Samoa won the bid to host both the Polynesian Cup as they were impressed with the successful hosting of the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
"We feel that we want to continue where we left off from the Pacific Games 2019 with all the locally trained officials we have and as well the amazing facility right there,” the statement said.
Pauga also said that as much as hosting the event is important they also need to work on their teams' performance, and they can't afford to make any mistakes especially in their home crowd.
"We want to start our preparation now both for Samoa as the host nation and as well our teams,” he said.
“We want to perform and play well in front of our home crowd. We will review our performances from the last Poly Cup and the Pacific Games - at least we now know where to improve on and we want to start right away so we don't get a repetition of those issues from the past”.