Samoa youth experience NZ

Some of Samoa’s finest youth players have travelled to New Zealand for a taste of life as an international football player and to prepare them for their future careers in football.

Football Federation Samoa coach mentor Scott Easthope and Samoa U-17 coach Desmond Faaiusaso are looking ahead to the OFC U-17 Championship next February with the group of 19 players.

“We brought out a group of players with us, some of them in preparation for the U-17 World Cup Qualifier in Tahiti, some of them are from the U-20 squad and have come out to be looked at by clubs from the winter league, and some of the other players have travelled just to gain experience,” Easthope said.

“It’s very good to get a group of players away and experiencing touring as a team and from a youth development perspective, it will be really good for future teams and producing leaders.

“Even small experiences like playing on AstroTurf has been hugely beneficial for the players.”

The squad has been based in Auckland during their initial training period, using the facilities at Ngahue Reserve, and are now travelling to Napier to participate in the U-19 Youth Football Tournament from 21-24 October.

“Our tour here finishes in Napier where we’re playing at the youth tournament,” Easthope said.

“It will be another good opportunity to play at a high level against players and teams that play a different style to what they get in the islands so we’re really looking forward to the challenge.

“There’s quite a few games over a few days for the players so the load on the players will be quite high.

“It’s a great experience for all the players we’ve brought out here to New Zealand, understanding all the small things around travel, and around group situations, and the dos and do nots,” he added.

The squad will return to Samoa at the conclusion of the U-19 youth tournament next week.