A key part of the ALL IN: OFC Women’s Football Strategy 2027 launched last year was to establish a Women’s Development Officer in every OFC Member Association. With that goal now achieved, we sit down to learn a little more about each of the women driving the growth of women’s football in our region. 

Fausagafou Angela Lafaialii-Pauga had a dream mentor in her early days in football, working under the watch of current FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman, who was her boss at the time. These days she Lafaialii-Pauga remains heavily involved in women’s football development, serving as both Football Federation Samoa’s Women’s Development Officer and Media Officer.

OFC: Tell us about yourself?

ALP: My name is Fausagafou Angela Lafaialii-Pauga but I’m well known to my friends and family as Angela. Funny fact about me, I didn’t know my first name was Fausagafou until 2011 when I got my driver’s licence!

I come from a big family of seven sisters and one brother and am married with a son. I grew up in the Malua Theological College where my dad had studied for four years. In 1999 we moved to Vaitele Uta where my parents served in the church and my dad was a minister.

How did you get involved in football?

Dad searched for activities to do, as the village youth only knew of volleyball. In 2010 we registered our village’s soccer club with FFS. A year later I sat my first coaching course and joined FFS as a volunteer.

What responsibilities do you hold at FFS?

I was employed by FFS in 2013 as Media Officer and was required to help out the national teams with their travelling logistics and FFS’s technical programmes. That’s when I became more involved with the women’s game.

In 2018 I was a part of the FFS Women’s Football Committee as the Secretary. Since then, all women’s football programmes and related activities have been my responsibility. I was then appointed WDO in 2020.

What are some of the challenges women face in your country?

Culture barriers. Females in Samoa are required to stay indoors and take care of the family which makes it difficult to change the perceptions and mindsets of parents, to allow their daughters to play football. We also have village rules for girls where they are not allowed to wear shorts.

This makes it hard for their development as they can’t play football in a lavalava (a skirt wrapped around their bodies as a sign of respect).

What excites you about the future of women’s football in Samoa?

This is the first time our MA has established a women’s football department, with support from FIFA and OFC. Females have so much potential and I want to give girls the opportunity to play football and for women to develop as administrators or mentors too.

I’m proud to be Samoan. My former boss is Sarai Bareman, who is also Samoan, and I want to continue developing the game here to make her proud.