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Football activities take centre stage across Oceania

OFC Coach Educator course in Samoa. Photo Credit: Lynetta Laumea-Edward

Although OFC’s international calendar is still uncertain due to the impact of COVID-19, football activities have started to resume in recent months and weeks in our Member Associations.

As part of the increasing number of activities in our region, OFC Head of High Performance and Education Owain Prosser conducted a two-day online course this week with participants from Football Federation Samoa (FFS), including four female and six male Coach Educators and a range of FFS Development Officers as well community coaches.

The aim of the webinar was to familiarise Coach Educators with the philosophy, theory and delivery styles being promoted by OFC.

It was designed to help Coach Educators learn how to motivate and engage adult learners in order to provide those involved in coach education opportunities in the Member Associations with positive experiences.

Participants in the online course with Owain Prosser. Photo Credit: OFC Media

“Coach Educators play a key role in supporting coaches to provide high quality, enjoyable environments for players,” Prosser said.

“Courses like this will not only help us improve standards of coaching but will also enable us to provide a positive development experience for coaches, helping to foster a culture of lifelong learning.

“It was an enjoyable course to be part of and that was down to the Coach Educators involved from Football Federation Samoa.

The attitude, application and commitment of all involved was excellent and I am excited about the impact this group could have on the development of football in Samoa.

“It will also provide Coach Educators with examples of skills, knowledge, and methods to deliver a high-quality Member Association Coach Education course.

“Focusing on areas such as presentation, communication, and facilitation skills, with a focus on helping adults to learn to become good community football coaches.”

Also in Samoa, a six-week senior women’s 7-aside tournament was launched on September 12 with twelve teams representing ten registered clubs in Savaii.

The matches are played on a smaller pitch with six outfield players and a goalkeeper in each side on every Saturday at the FFS Centre in Iva.

Action from the women’s 7-a-side competition in Samoa. Photo Credit: FFS Media

Savaii Development Manager Papalii Tala said this format of the game helps to develop the player’s speed, improve their technical skills while also giving clubs with smaller player pools the chance to attract newcomers.

“We decided to start our senior women’s tournament with a 7-a-side games to give the participating teams the opportunity to play in a fast and fun environment,” he said.

“Given the small number of women playing football, I believe this type of tournament provides an effective platform to attract the interest of girls with its shorter duration and higher intensity.”

Meanwhile, women’s football reached a new milestone in the Solomon Islands after the Western Football Association (WFA) became the first ever provincial football association to launch a Women’s Football Regional Development Centre at Gizo’s JF Kennedy Stadium.

The event was witnessed by the region’s leading politicians, WFA and Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) officials, as well as more than 200 women and girls and students from participating schools.

The opening of the Women’s Football Regional Development Centre at Gizo’s JF Kennedy Stadium Photo Credit: SIFF Media

WFA Football Development Officer Seri Hite hailed the historic moment as a major achievement for the Western province and football in general in the Solomon Islands.

“It is a very important milestone for WFA, as this is the launching of women’s football here in Western Province. The launching is a partnership between SIFF, WFA and also the Western Provincial Government,” Hite said.

“We believe that this is a pilot project for both WFA and SIFF. The lessons that we learn from this will help other provincial football associations to establish their own regional football centres for women.”

Two successful COVID-19 awareness festivals were held at the JF Kennedy Stadium in Gizo last weekend.

A team of three coordinators held two separate festivals for children ranging from ages 6-12 on Saturday and 13-16 year-olds on Sunday to wrap up a week-long tour to the Western Province.

Children at a COVID-19 awareness festival. Photo Credit: SIFF Media

School teachers and community youth leaders were trained to become volunteers for the two festivals which had a theme of ‘WASH’ to enforce key messages of water, sanitation and hygiene.

Just Play will continue with the COVID-19 awareness festival next month in the Malaita province at Afio in the South, Auki in the Central region and Foia in the North.

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands’ Telekom S-League will continue this weekend with matchday 7 of the 11 round competition.

League leaders Henderson Eels will host seventh-placed Marist FC on Saturday while the Solomon Warriors, who are in in second, will visit eighth-placed Isable United the next day.

In the weekend’s other matches, Real Kakamora play KOSSA and Laugu United face Honiara City.

Round seven will conclude next Wednesday with a match between Central Coast and Southern United.

In Papua New Guinea the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League is about to enter its final three weeks.

At the top of end of the table Lae City, Vitiaz and Hekari United are all vying for the minor premiership and a spot in the OFC Champions League 2021, while Tusbab Stallions, Gulf Komara, Star Mountain and FC Bougainville will all be keen to finish in the top four.

At Lae’s Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium, competition leaders Lae City FC will be looking to keep their title hopes on track when they host ninth-placed Morobe United.

Elsewhere, FC Bougainville will face a tough challenge when they take on Vitiaz United FC at the PNG Football Stadium.

This match will provide another great opportunity to Vitiaz United striker Jonathan Allen to reaffirm his position at the top of the league’s goal scoring table.

Allen scored a double last weekend against Kutubu FC to lead the Golden Boot race with 12 goals so far.

Vitiaz United striker Jonathan Allen (in front) competing for the ball. Photo Credit: Fiji FA Media

Vitiaz team manageress Rogena Strach said the 20-year old had a bright future ahead of him.

“He is fast and versatile with both left and right feet so that’s the advantage he has,” Strach said.

Meanwhile, Kutubu FC are hoping for a strong performance against Star Mountain to bounce back from their 4-1 defeat to Vitiaz in the last round.

The weekend’s other matches will see Hekari United FC clash with FC Morobe Wawens and Gulf Komara will meet the Tusbab Stallions in Port Moresby.

In Fiji, Vodafone Premier League leaders Rewa insist they won’t underestimate Labasa, a team 13 points behind them, when they face each other in Round 11 of the competition on Sunday.

Rewa FC. Photo Credit: Fiji FA Media

Head coach Marika Rodu said the Babasiga Lions posed a real danger to their title hopes.

“Every game is tough and they are getting tougher, so we need to improve our defensive work as a team,” Rodu said.

“We are taking each game as a final because the points difference on the table is not that much and we will not take Labasa on their current standings but see them as a threat to our chances of winning the national league.”

Meanwhile, second-placed Suva also insist they won’t take bottom-of-the-table Nauva FC lightly.

Head coach Babs Khan has labelled Navua a dangerous opponent.

“Navua is an unpredictable side who came in as underdogs and gave the big teams some really hard times,” he said.

Elsewhere, Ba FC will host northern rivals Lautoka FC, while Nasinu FC face Nadi FC.

In New Caledonia, Mobil Super league leaders Tiga Sport host SC Ne Drehu, while defending champions Hienghène Sport face JC Baco on matchday 6 of the 18-round competition.

In the weekend’s other action, Horizon Patho meet AS Kunie, AS Wetr battle with AS Mont-Dore while AS Magenta line up against AS Lossi.

And finally in the Cook Islands, defending champions Tupapa Maraerenga will go into their weekend clash against Matavera high on confidence after notching up four wins and a draw in their previous five matches to lead the standings with 13 points.

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