Football in Samoa
Football still takes second place behind rugby in the popularity stakes but has gained ground over the past few years. It is especially popular with children and teenagers so the ranking is reversed in this age category. The Samoan women's national team won its first ever competitive match by beating the Cook Islands during the preliminary competition for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. Tim Cahill has brought a dash of Samoan football to the English professional scene playing for Everton Football Club. The Samoa Football Federation has organised three regional qualifying tournaments for the FIFA World Cup? and Olympic Football Tournament since 1998. It is the best organised sports association in the country with a new technical director being appointed in 2002 who is responsible for training coaches and organising development programmes for youths and players.
The first Goal Project
Before Goal provided funding for pitches, the football season in Samoa was very short (July - December). Since the «Toleafoa J. S. Blatter Football Fields» were opened in the presence of Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar, chairman of the Goal Bureau and President of the Asian Football Confederation) in July 2001, the number of competitions in all age categories has soared. Goal and the FIFA Financial Assistance Programme bore the costs of construction while the Samoan Government donated the land. Now matches, tournaments, training and development programmes can be held from February through to December. Work has also been intensified for children and teenagers. A programme called «Footykids» was launched in 2002, exceeding even the highest hopes with over 1,200 boys and girls participating. The new facilities also play host to training programmes for coaches and referees. At the inauguration ceremony, association president Toleafoa Tautulu Roebeck expressed his gratitude as follows: «Samoa now has sports grounds built especially for football and the Samoan football association can now use them to promote the game, especially at the grassroots and youth levels.»
Use of FAP funds
Financing of Goal project
Two grass pitches in Apia
Project approved
Pilot project
Opened on 21 July 2001
Financed by
Goal USD 728,000 FAP USD 200,000 Government Land Total cost USD 928,000