Bird flies into contention

Bird Vagaia has made an outstanding debut in the OFC Champions League. Image: Alain Vartane

Bird Vagaia’s performances so far in the OFC Champions League should have him firmly on the radar for the Samoa national team according to his Lupe Ole Soaga coach Paul Ualesi.

“Our first match against Magenta was Bird’s international debut,” Ualesi said.

“He’s a really good player, really talented.”

Ualesi said Vagaia’s versatility is one of his most attractive qualities.

“He can play at the back, he can cover the middle and he goes up front too. He’s a really good player, a utility, and that’s why I really like him.

“If I say I need him to defend he will, but if I want him to attack he will and he’s really dangerous up front because he has a very good ball flick and he’s confident.”

For Vagaia himself it has been an eye-opening experience and the exposure to a new level of football has done him wonders.

“I’ve seen the high level of the game being played here in this tournament and it is a level that I am experiencing for the first time,” he said.

“For this I thank the Lord for giving me the talent to play and compete in this game.”

The biggest difference for Vagaia is the speed of the game and it’s something he’s keen to work on in his own game.

“In Samoa we play football but the game is slower. From what I’ve seen the level is high and it is very quick. I am thankful and grateful to be able to enjoy how competitive it is,” he said.

“I know that I need to improve my skills to the level of play at this tournament.”

As for how he can improve, Vagaia already has some ideas.

“The only thoughts on my mind are to train hard in order to get fit. No matter if I am told that my performance was good, but if you are not fit you cannot do anything else.”

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