The Football Federation Samoa (FFS) stepped foot onto OFC’s Home of Football pitches between May 25-26 to become the first Member Association to use the facilities following its completion last December.
Gifted the Māori name Te Kahu o Kiwa, the Home of Football serves as a base for the Confederation’s 11 Member Associations and two Associate Members.
But due to ongoing COVID-19 border restrictions in the Oceania region, Te Kahu o Kiwa hadn’t been used by a Member Association prior to last week.
With the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in July, where Samoa will play in Group A alongside Tonga and the Cook Islands, FFS spent two days of their national camp at the Home of Football. The event aimed to identify potential female players based in New Zealand and overseas.
It was led by Samoa women’s head coach Paul Ifill, who said the facility presented his group with an ideal environment to train in.
“Privileged to be here; it’s beautiful,” Ifill said.
“The players come in and they see the pitches, the changing rooms, they feel like it’s another level up. That makes my job easier because the minute they get there they are already switched on.
“It’s hard finding a decent level facility in Oceania, so to use it is excellent.”
FFS Technical Director Jess Ibrom said the premier training facility has enhanced their preparations for the Women’s Nations Cup.
“Back in Samoa there is minimal football activity happening as they have been in and out of COVID-19 restrictions which created some challenges for us to overcome,” Ibrom said.
“The Home of Football has been something that OFC has been working towards for some time, so to have the opportunity to use it has benefitted the players as we prepare for future OFC tournaments such as the Women’s Nations Cup.
“The surface is outstanding as is the location. We certainly feel very fortunate that OFC has enabled us to utilise the Home of Football.
“The opportunity to pull together potential national players from different locations to one central venue is a big plus for us.”