When Madeleen Ah Ki made her debut appearance for Samoa as a 12-year-old at the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship she thought she’d have a few years of youth representation ahead of her before making her senior debut.
But just three weeks after her 16th birthday she started for the Samoa women’s national team in a friendly against Fiji and has gone on to cement her place at the centre of the team at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.
At her age playing with and against players much older than might be intimidating, but for Maddy, the transition has been made much easier thanks to her sister Mariecamilla who is also in the squad.
Camilla is incredibly protective of her younger sibling which can sometimes make things hard for her in the throes of an intense game.
“When I see Maddy tackled badly or hurt on the field I want to run over and protect her, but I know I need to stay in position,” she said.
“I’m proud of Maddy for being selected to play in the national team with me.”
This Samoa side is not the first time the pair have lined up together.
Based in Brisbane, Australia they are both in the Queensland Lions FC squad, and also represented Samoa in the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament in 2017.
In addition, Camilla has played in two U-20 and one U-17 Women’s Championship, having made her debut as a 15-year-old in the 2015 edition of the OFC U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifier in Tonga.
Maddy said playing together is a exciting and rewarding for both of them, and she has no doubt she’s found the perfect role model.
“She is a leader ion the field, one I am happy to follow,” Maddy said.
Still only 18 herself, Camilla is eyeing up one more round of youth representation in the next U-19 women’s cycle as well as the Pacific Games which will see her play her first competitive football match on Samoan soil.
Right now however the siblings are fully focused on the task at hand which they’re hoping includes progression to the semi-finals.
Samoa play their final group match against their hosts New Caledonia on Saturday 24 November at Stade Yoshida from 5pm (local).