The preliminary tournament will be hosted by Samoa from November 22 to 26 and will see the hosts go up against American Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga for a place in the OFC Nations Cup.
The four-team competition is the first step on the Oceania qualifying path for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and Samoa coach Tunoa Lui is leaving no stone unturned to ensure his men stand a good chance of progressing past the preliminary stage.
The best players within the country have already been identified but Football Federation Samoa is now offering all eligible overseas-based players the chance to book a place in the squad by attending trials in Samoa from October 12 to 14.
All interested players must hold or be eligible for a current Samoa passport.
Coach Lui is keen to assemble as strong a squad as possible as two of Samoa’s rivals hold an advantage in that they have experienced plenty of international action recently.
American Samoa and Cook Islands both took part in the men’s football tournament at the XIV Pacific Games, which was held in New Caledonia from August 27 to October 9, while Samoa’s only recent outings have been a pair of comprehensive defeats to Fiji, by 5-0 and 5-1, as part of their opponents’ preparations for the Games.
The confidence of American Samoa will not have been boosted by that event as they lost all five of their matches and conceeded 26 goals in the process. But the Cook Islands did manage a win – a 3-0 triumph over Kiribati – and will go into the preliminary stage as slight favourites to take the title and thus move onto the next phase of qualifying.
That comes in the form of the OFC Nations Cup, which will involve eight of OFC’s 11 member associations and is set to take place in Fiji from June 3 to 11.
The eight countries – namely Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu and the winner of stage one – will take part in a tournament based on a league system with semi-finals and a final. The winner will go on to represent OFC in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The four highest-placed teams from the second stage will then contest stage three – a round-robin, home-and-away play-off series. The matches are foreseen to take place between 7 September 2012 and March 26 2013 in FIFA windows.
The winner of the third stage will advance to the inter-continental play-off for a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
OFC’s top qualifier will square off against the fourth best side from CONCACAF – the North America, Central America and Caribbean federation – in a change from the previous pathway when they faced Asia’s fifth best.
For futher enquiries about the trials for overseas-based Samoa players, please contact men’s national team coach Tunoa Lui on +685 724 3176 or email [email protected]
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