Both teams returned home winless and scoreless from the event, which was held in New Caledonia during August and September, and finished bottom of each of their groups.
Technical advisor Larry Mana’o, who was involved in the efforts of both sides, has put together a report on the matches and has pinpointed some key areas in which he feels improvements need to be made.
“The experience our players gained will go a long way in helping them prepare for the upcoming tournaments they will compete in,” FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet says.
“The talent we played against was of a much higher standard, especially in the men’s competition, but they fought hard and I take my hat off to both teams for doing their best.”
Despite the results going firmly against American Samoa, FFAS chief executive officer Tavita Taumua feels some positives can still be taken out of the Games showings.
“The experience the players gained is great,” he says.
“It’s going to help them prepare mentally for our tournaments in the near future. The ball is now in our technical department’s court to work on the improvements needed to make our teams better.”
Mana’o has highlighted a handful of key areas for each team, mainly relating to skills such as control and distribution, as well as fitness levels and defensive organisation among other things.
“He has brought up a lot of good points and the federation, particularly our technical department of which Larry is part, will be targeting these areas,” Taumua says. “They will be at the top of our list of improvements that need to be worked on.”
The men’s team conceeded 26 goals in its five Group A games in New Caledonia – against the hosts, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Guam – and that figure was a vast improvement on the previous Pacific Games campaign in 2007, when 38 goals were given up over just four games.
Of the five opponents American Samoa faced in Noumea, two were also played against in 2007 – Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
Against Vanuatu four years ago, the score was 15-0 while this time the margin of defeat was 8-0. Solomon Islands also found the American Samoa defence harder to break down this year, winning 4-0 after triumphing 12-1 in 2007.
Of the 18 players in the 2011 squad, only five took part in the last Games.
The women’s squad was also vastly different with just two of the 17 players returning to the fold. But, in contrast to the men, the new faces failed to improve on the previous results and conceeded far more goals this time.
The side let in 23 strikes in its four Group A games – against New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti and Solomon Islands – to almost double the 2007 tally of 13 from the same number of matches. The 2007 crop also managed a feat their successors did not come close to achieving, picking up a point with a 1-1 draw against Cook Islands.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have chances on the immediate horizon to improve on their Games’ efforts.
The men will be in action again in Samoa in November when they will meet the hosts, Cook Islands and Tonga in the preliminary stages of the OFC Nations Cup – the first step on the qualification path for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil – while the women will take part in the qualifiers for the London 2012 Olympics in Fiji in March.
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