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Savaii football making a mark

Falute says the interest in football is growing in Sawaii and 2016 saw a record number of teams enter.
“Two years ago we had six clubs for boys and four for girls.
“This year we have 11 boys clubs and seven for the girls,” he says.
Falute says the main objective of the 10-week tournament is to identify talent that can represent Samoa in the future.
Savaii National League has already produced players for the U-20 and U-17 national womens’ team and the U-17 men’s team.
Falute says the tournament also provides a development pathway for the best youngsters who are invited to join Savaii’s Centre of Excellence and Centre of Development programs.
“This year we have thirteen girls at the age of 17 and fifteen boys under the age of 17 at our Centre of Excellence,” he says.
“We also have about 30 other younger kids from the under 12 age group at our Centre of Development.”
According to Falute, these two centres offer training twice a week for seven or eight months a year and that had a major impact on the quality on display in this year’s tournament.
“The standards are getting better.
We are not Samoan National league level yet, however’ my goal is to create a team from the best Savaii National League players that can enter next year’s top division.”
The Savaii National League manager also believes it’s crucial to provide young players with enough opportunity in order to keep them in football.
“There are more and more kids interested in playing football.
“We have a rugby field right next to our football pitch and I can see the kids enjoying our game,” he says.
“The key is to keep them occupied all year around so they don’t switch to rugby or other sports.”
There are still six weeks to go in this year’s Savaii National League before the younger age groups also get their opportunity to showcase their talent in a competition format.
And Falute already has plans for other football competitions later this year.
“For the first time ever we will organise a cup competition as well as a futsal and a Seven-a-side tournament.”


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