Samoa U-17 players Falaniko Naumea and Stanley Mamea have found solace after their early exit at the 2017 OFC U-17 Championship, returning home to receive the news that they had been offered full scholarships to attend Hastings Boys High School in New Zealand.
The two will be joined by fellow Samoa-based footballer Jarvis Filimalae in the Samoa Football Federation and Hastings Boys High School joint initiative to provide financial assistance and access to quality education for high-potential footballers.
Football Federation Samoa Technical Director Martin Tamasese was overjoyed with the opportunity to provide local players access to quality football and education, and feels hopeful that this is only the start of many more international pathways.
“It’s a privilege for us to have these kinds of opportunities for our local players,” he said.
“We’re also waiting for another school in New Zealand for the same opportunity. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to get more experience not only in football but in education,” he added.
The scholarship was devised by Hastings Boys High School Director of Football Coaching Grant Hastings, who originally reached out to Tamasese to inquire about New Zealand-based Samoan footballers, but after some persuasion from Tamasese, the scholarship was extended to Samoa-based players and provided flights to New Zealand in addition to tuition, uniforms and other costs.
Further scholarships for Samoa footballers will be on the cards when the effectiveness of the inaugural scholarship programme is assessed in 2018.