Contributed by: Aaron Richard
Aussie Rules in Samoa is back and set to resume its competitions and programs in 2007 after a very quiet 2006. Despite seemingly dropping of the radar after the Samoan team competed at the 2005 International Cup, the growing interest in the game has remained and the newly named AFL Samoa (formerly SARFA) is keen to get senior and high school competitions underway.
The arrival of AFL Samoa National Development Officer Michael Roberts has assisted the organization in Developing Programs and creating opportunities for all Samoans to try 'Aussie Rules' football.
Roberts is hosted with AFL Samoa as a Volunteer with VIDA (Volunteers for International Development Abroad) - an Ausaid funded organization. He has a vast array of qualifications and experience working in football Development and programming in Australia including stints with several associations, Elite Development squads and top level clubs in both NSW and Victoria. "The opportunities are endless for any young guys wanting to give this game a go at seniors or schoolboys, we have scholarship and travel opportunities for adults and youth... it’s a game boys and girls can enjoy and many high schools would appreciate and should look into as something new and different".
AFL Samoa is looking for interested players, School old boys groups or whole village teams to join their competition and hope to include teams from the National University and from the Apia city area in a 16 a side tournament.
When asked what Aussie rules has to offer Samoan athletes, Roberts says "it's all positive, we have young people in Samoa with plenty of energy and talent and Australian football is the best sport in the world for combining and enhancing all the skills from soccer, rugby, volleyball and athletics. It's a game that suits Samoans of all shapes and sizes."
With the international cup in 2008, the AFL Samoa believes there are plenty of potential superstars just waiting to be discovered. Roberts believes that "it is likely in years to come to see as many Samoan players in the top AFL Ranks in Australia as we see now in American Football and International Rugby Associations".
AFL Samoa is still seeking a naming sponsor for its senior and schoolboys' competitions but it is determined to resume in late March. Individual and team registration forms can be picked up and returned to SASNOC office ground floor, government building or phone National Coach Milani Feaunati for enquiries on 777-6950 or 45662.
World Footy News