The women’s competition was won by East Zone, who triumphed 2-0 over North Zone in their final.
The week-long tournament was held this month by Football Federation Samoa (FFS) and included four zone-based teams made up of players from the country’s national league sides.
The national men’s and women’s squads also took part as they look to prepare for the upcoming Pacific Games, to be held in New Caledonia during August and September, but were not eligible to participate in the finals.
Significantly, male and female squads from the island of Savaii also competed, marking the first time sides from the region have featured in a FFS tournament for several years. The Savaii team was made up of players mainly from the Faasaleleaga district.
Acting FFS chief executive officer Sarai Bareman was pleased to see the tournament take in teams from a wide area.
“It’s been great having teams fron Savaii participating,” she said. “FFS is committed to seeing the game grow, not just in Upolu, but also in Savaii. Having representative teams from Savaii take part in competitions is an important part of our development.”
The triumphant West Zone men’s side, consisting mainly of players from the Sogi and Central United clubs, defeated Savaii 5-1 in their opening game and then posted a hard-fought 1-0 win over East Zone.
Runners-up South Zone, featuring players from Adidas, Vaimoso and One Way Win, did not have such a smooth passage and needed a late penalty in a 1-1 draw with North Zone to qualify for the final.
In the opening minutes of the final, West went on the attack and created several good scoring opportunities. But South took the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute when Iosefo Ioane hit home a stunning effort from the edge of the box.
West were not out of the game for long though and equalised just seven minutes later through Kevin Ah Kuoi.
Both teams showed plenty of attacking intent at the start of the second spell but it was West who earned the lead when midfielder Eteueni Tyrell found the net in the 60th minute. Striker Tominiko Tokuma calmly added a third from the penalty spot in the 70th minute and Robert Hellesoe then sealed the win after a well-worked counter-attack.
Women’s winners East Zone, made up of players from Moataa and Moaula United, scored their spot in the final thanks to 1-0 victories over Savaii and West, while opponents North, featuring Kiwi and Apia Youth players, secured their place with a 2-0 win over South in the last game of the group stages.
East got off to a great start in the final with two quick goals to striker Hazel Vagaia and their defence held firm for the rest of the match to claim the win. Impressively, East lifted the trophy without conceeding a goal throughout the entire tournament.
Bareman was delighted with how the event unfolded.
“I think this tournament has been a huge success and I want to thank all the players, coaches, referees and supporters for making this possible,” she said.
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