Samoa basketball confident of hosting busy calendar in 2021

The Samoa Basketball Federation is confident next year's Polynesian Cup will go ahead without a hitch despite the global uncertainty surrounding sporting events in the wake of Covid-19.

Samoa has been awarded hosting rights for the 2021 Polynesian Cup next September while Apia will also stage the Oceania Under 17 Championships three months later.

President of the Samoa Basketball Federation, Pauga Talalalei Pauga, said they cannot wait.

"We're very excited and very keen to host it," he said. "Especially we have vast experience from our last two events because we hosted the first Polynesian Cup in 2018 and then we hosted the Pacific Games in 2019.

"I do have a strong [group of] officials and manpower here so we're very keen and looking forward to this event."

Pauga said Samoa was very fortunate to be free of Covid-19 and, at this stage, all of their preparations were going ahead as normal.

"Even though we have some lockdown rules and that it seems normal for us," he said.

"We're hoping that with Covid-19 it will allow other Pacific Islands to come [to Samoa] and participate in the upcoming events next years, and also for New Zealand and Australia because New Zealand and Australia will be joining us in the Under 17 FIBA Oceania as well."

Tahiti edged Samoa in the final of the inaugural Men's Polynesian Cup two years ago, while Cook Islands proved too strong for Tahiti in the women's gold medal match.

The host nation finished sixth and third in the men's and women's events at last year's Pacific Games in Apia and Pauga said they might look to boost their national teams with Samoan players from overseas.

"We now have international players playing in a lot of countries and that's something that we're looking at, to bring in a lot of professional players playing overseas," he said.

"That's what I saw in the last Pacific Games is a lot of players playing overseas they are actually playing for those teams. I'm not saying that they're doing something wrong but we see where we're heading because a lot of our players that played last time were mainly local."

The 2021 FIBA Polynesian Cup is the qualifier to the 2023 Pacific Games, with the latter serving as the official qualifier to the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.

The Polynesian Cup will be run alongside the Melanesian and Micronesian Cups, with the top two qualifiers from each joining the host nation, Solomon Islands and a wildcard in Honiara.