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FFAS U-19 Tournament play-offs set

Top seeded Tutuila (FC SKBC, Lion Heart, Black Roses, Tafuna Jets) will take on No. 4 Aunu’u (Pago Youth, PanSa, Atu’u Broncos) while No. 2 Manu’a (Ilaoa & To’omata, Vaitogi United, Vaiala Tongan) plays against No. 3 Swains Island (Utulei Youth, Green Bay, Kiwi Soccers).
“So far this tournament has been great because it has shown us the types of players we will be working with for the upcoming, 2014 OFC U-19 Championship,” explained FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua.
“It has been a great experiment and this could become our method for selecting players for our national teams in the future.”
The final is scheduled for February 22 and soon after a group of 30 players will be picked to train fro a final squad of 20 for the tournament that has been scheduled by the OFC for May 2014, in a yet to be finalised location.
Other countries are going through the final selection process themselves with Fiji camping their 23-man squad while New Caledonia has 35 training for selection. The total number of teams competing for a slot in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup that will be hosted by New Zealand is six – American Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu.
“We’ve got a good crop of young men as the make-up for this squad adn we hav eto train them hard in a short amount of time in order to play well against Oceania’s best,” Taumua says.
American Samoa’s participation in the tournament was almost derailed as Taumua and FFAS President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet had looked into the timing of the competition.
“The majority of these players are seniors in high school right now and may is the month of their final examination and the start of the high schools’ graduation ceremonies,” Taumua explained.
“We are still waiting for the DOE’s final schedule for their graduation ceremonies.”
Taumua said that FFAS had requested a change of dates.
“They could not change the dates because it is only one country affected,” he explained.
“It is understandable because our school system is totally different from the other countries. We’re under the US system where the school year is from August of one year to June of the next.”
Taumua said that the team hopes to start training once the competition is completed.

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