Club Presidents Meet
FFAS club presidents vote to end season, discuss other matters
The status of the 2009 men and women's National League has now been determined with the Football (soccer) Federation of American Samoa's club presidents voting to end the season with only two rounds remaining and awarding the titles to the clubs in the lead at this point.
The meeting was held on Oct. 13 at the National Headquarters to discuss FFAS' situation what with the main office and field badly damaged by the tsunami that hit parts of American Samoa as a direct result of a magnitude 8.3 earthquake that rattled the territory on Sept. 29.
FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet conducted the meeting at the office that has been recently patched up with two rooms set up as an office and storage.
He explained that the Secretariat, led by CEO Tavita Taumua, was in the process of securing Kananafou's field to complete the last two rounds in both divisions as well as hold the top-4 playoffs. He wanted opinions on whether to postpone the competition or end it.
After much discussion, and led by Rev. John Evagelia's proposal, they all agreed not for a postponement but to end the season.
Black Roses' men and women's teams are the leaders of their respective divisions and the last time national league games were held on the field was Sept. 19.
Punaoa Veni Sopoaga, president of CCCAS Fagasa Youth, told of the plight of his village as they were also hit hard by the tsunami.
"A lot of my players have lost their homes or have families who've lost their homes," Punaoa explained. "And as much as I want our league to continue, a lot of my players won't be available because they are all helping to clear out the mess and trying to rebuild their homes or families' homes."
Rev. Evagelia, vice-president of Utulei Youth, supported ending the competition rather than postponing it by saying that even though Utulei was not damaged by the tsunami, his villagers have families in Leone, Pago Pago, Fagasa and other affected villages that need their help and support to recover and rebuild.
When put to a vote, the nine club presidents present were unanimous in their decision to end the competition. Only FC SKBC was not represented at the meeting.
The presidents present were FFAS Vice-President Sandra Herrera (PanSa), FFAS Executive Committee member Silasila Samuelu (Pago Youth), Saili Ott (Black Roses), Lokeni Lokeni (Tafuna Jets), Terry Shimasaki (Green Bay), Amio Mavaega-Luvu (Lion Heart), Punaoa (CCCAS Fagasa Youth) and Rev. Evagelia (Utulei Youth).
Iuli then went on to other matters, first explaining the situation with the U-20 women's team that was supposed to have left on Oct. 1 for the OFC Women's U-20 Championship 2009 New Zealand from Oct. 5-Oct. 9.
FIFA and OFC postponed that tournament to Jan 21, 2010 because American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga were affected by tsunamis on Sept. 29. FFAS’ U-20 squad just recently started practice again using a small portion of the damaged field that was cleaned vigorously by the Secretariat. The territory went through a very dry spell before and after the tsunami, turning the Kananafou grass brown and once it recovers training will be moved there.
Kananafou Secretary-General Rev. Samuelu Tialavea has graciously given the association permission to use their field.
Also, American Samoa will still play host to the OFC Executive Committee meeting on Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day, Iuli pointed out. He said OFC President Reynald Temarii confirmed with him that the conference would still be held in the territory and it is the association's wish for it to be held here.
Finally, he pointed out what their eyes had already told them and that was the damage sustained by the office and field from the tsunami that swept through Pago Pago on Sept. 29.
Iuli told them that Taumua was spearheading the efforts to rebuild the office and resurface the field and that the office, equipments, tool shed and equipments were insured with National Pacific Insurance. However, the field was not so the president, executive committee and Secretariat are looking at ways to find the money for that project.
He pointed out that FIFA Development Officer for OFC Glenn Turner was on island to see for himself what the FFAS compound went through and his report would be helpful in seeking funds from FIFA and OFC to help with the field.
There has been no estimate as to the damages yet. All equipment in the office was damaged beyond repair including computers, printers, etc., but the Secretariat was able to patch up two offices.
Already a desktop computer and laptop have been purchased along with printers that are being used daily, there is running water, electricity is being provided by way of a power generator and telephone and internet services are also up and running.