Samoa likely to skip Softball World Champs over funding

Samoa is fighting an uphill battle to raise enough funds to compete at this year's World Softball Championships in Canada.

The Tanifa finished seventh at the 2013 World Championships in Auckland but failed to qualify for the 2015 event in Saskatoon.

This year's tournament in July is open-entry provided teams can pay their way to Whitehorse, Yukon.

Samoa player-coach Duane Jerard said they're still trying to find sponsors but the signs are not good.

"At this stage we'd probably have to say we're not going to make it and we're going to have to target the next one," he said.

"It's pretty much like that and that's the way it had to be because you have to go over with a lot of organisation and if money is an issue to start with, well we're not going to go much further."

"A 16/17 year old trying to find $7,000 to go to a tournament is a massive ask, plus the older fellas have got families and stuff like that," said Jerard.

"So it's going to be a massive ask to find all that money ourselves - plus the time away from work as well - so it's going to be a tough one."

Duane Jerard said he understands there have been informal talks with representatives from the Samoa government about possible assistance but the outcome is unclear.

Samoa find it tough at Challenge Cup

The Tanifa have just spent five days competing in the inaugural Challenge Cup in Auckland, against five of the top eight ranked teams in the world.

The 12th ranked Samoans managed only one win from 11 games - against the eighth ranked Czech Republic - but Jerard said he was proud of their efforts in trying circumstances.

"For us it was definitely a gruelling thing because literally one of our pitchers was basically gone from the start, due to injury, and our other pitcher hadn't even pitched this year for his team," he said.

"It did make it very hard for us to compete. If we had a top-line pitcher - just one - we would have been a lot better off for it for sure."

Duane Jerard said the Samoa squad was all New Zealand-based, with some driving up the day before the tournament started and playing the next day.

"One of our guys came up from Wellington and he doesn't know if he's got a job to go back to because he got declined his time off and come anyway," he said.

"That's the kind of people we've got in our team - they're dedicated."

"They've got a lot of heart, a lot of pride," Jerard said of his players.

We lost one game 18-0 - I had to come in and pitch just to finish the game off, just to give my pitchers a breather, it doesn't phase them in any way," he said.

"It is what it is - they have to take it with a grain of salt - so if it means losing a game like that and then coming out the next day and losing to Aussie 4-2 then that's how we have to roll because without top quality pitching and games under our belt we were always going to struggle."

Duane Jerard said there are no further matches on the horizon for Samoa, with all their focus now on trying to raise the funds to make it to the World Championships.


Photo: PHOTOSPORT Current Samoa player-coach Duane Jerard bats during the 2004 World Championships. 

Photo Below: Samoa performs a haka during the World Softball Championships Oceania Qualifier.