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American Samoa ready for Fiji 2014

They depart for Samoa on their way to Suva, Fiji on 19 May, 2014 with the tournament to be held from 23-31 May. They fly to Fiji on May 21.#“We know that we will have it tough against these five other teams so we’ve been working very hard on our defence as a unit,” explained coach Rupeni Luvu.#Luvu has worked long and hard on the team’s defending tactics along with his assistant coach Uinifareti Aliva and with valuable input from OFC coach mentor Simon Toselli. Toselli will be traveling with the team as its technical advisor.#American Samoa will be competing against Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands#“We’ve looked at each player’s experience based on past OFC tournaments they participated in and are trying to bring those experiences to the fore so that they can perform well in Fiji,” Luvu said.#Players such as Ryan Paaga, Rueben Luvu, Kaleopa Siligi and Ne’emia Kaleopa played for the U-17 team that competed in New Zealand in 2011. Only the former two saw playing time while Siligi and Kaleopa never got to play.#In 2012 Henry Lameta was on the U-23 squad for the OFC Olympic Qualifying in Taupo, New Zealand but did not play.#Last year’s U-17 squad that participated in the OFC Preliminary Stage in Samoa against Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga features many names on the current squad such as Lameta, Luvu, Siligi, Kaleopa, Sam Kome, Johnny Sione, Sinisa Tua, Paul Collins, Paia Ipiniu, Frederick Maiava and Lotupo Lameta with the latter the only player not earning any time on the field.#“Their experience and also their knowledge of my system being used is what us coaches are going to rely on for the upcoming tournament,” Luvu said.#FFAS President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet and the executive committee received the official team list of 19 players to represent American Samoa and approved it with their blessings.#“They are going to represent American Samoa at this tournament and are going to fight the battle in our name,” Faiivae said. “To Rueben, Uini and the players, we wish them the best of luck.”#The committee also put their stamp of approval on the coach and assistant coach while also naming the rest of the team’s management — FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua tabbed as the team’s manager, Florence Wasko-Salesa as the team’s physio and media officer Brian Vitolio.# OFC MEDIA

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