Faaiuaso pursues coaching pathway

He’s been a legend on the field for over two decades, and now Samoa captain Desmond Faaiuaso is turning his attention to leading from the sideline.

The Samoa U-17 coach has joined 18 other candidates from across Oceania at the OFC B Licence Coaching Course in Auckland this week, and after six intense days Faaiuaso has found the B Licence to be a huge step up from past coaching courses.

“It’s hard. It’s very hard to face the instructors and participants,” he said after leading a session as part of the course.

“The difference is now it’s all about the session plan, compared to the C Licence and the D Licence where it was easier for us to prepare sessions,” he added.

“In the B Licence you have to prepare everything.”

Comradery from his fellow participants and support from instructors has proven helpful to Faaiuaso when facing the daunting task of learning in front of a crowd.

“I’m getting along well with the other participants, all the different coaches from across Oceania, so it makes me more comfortable to lead a session,” Faaiuaso said.

“At the beginning I was a little bit nervous but now I’m getting used to it,” he added.

Faaiuaso’s motivation to take action and improve the standards of coaching in Samoa developed during his international football career, where he was exposed to some of the best coaching in the region.

“I went to Tahiti on a contract in 2006, then after returning home for a few years I took on another contract in New Zealand to play for Youngheart Manawatu in 2009 and 2010,” he said.

“Back home we don’t have high level coaches like New Zealand. We’ve only really got one good coach in the whole country and competition is very low. That’s why it was good for me to come here and play and learn from the high level coaches in New Zealand,” he added.

“It’s also why Football Federation Samoa sent us here this week, to come and learn, and when we go back we will share our experience with other coaches to encourage them to do their B Licence and keep improving.”

Faaiuaso’s playing career and coaching career have followed a similar path, starting in his village team then working his way through the ranks to national representative level.

“The first team I coached was my village team, then I started coaching the youth in 2010,” he said.

“Now I’m coaching the U-17’s for Samoa.”

Faaiuaso’s success with the U-17 team at this year’s OFC U-17 Championship Preliminary saw his team qualify for next year’s OFC U-17 Championship in Tahiti, making now a more important time than ever for Faaiuaso to progress in his coaching development.

“After this course, I’m aiming to take everything I’ve learnt here and share it with the U-17 team in our trainings for Tahiti,” he said

“That’s why I’m here. To keep learning.”

The OFC U-17 Championship kicks off on 11 February in Tahiti. Samoa will join New Zealand, Fiji and Solomon Islands in Group B, while Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, New Caledonia and Vanuatu will face off in Group A.