Partnerships: The power to make change
Unearthing new talent and identifying Upolu’s top athletes was the agenda for Friday’s Football Festival for athletes with special needs held at Samoa’s home of Football in Tuanaimato. The festival highlighted the sustained partnership between Special Olympics Samoa and the Football Federation Samoa empowering youth through sport
CEO Tusitina Nu’uvali echo’s the SIDS catchphrase “The Special Olympics Samoa only exists through our genuine and durable partnerships. This festival of football was made possible by with the cross sector support of FFS who supplied facilities and officials on the day, the 18 APTC Nutrition students who volunteered their time to provide the athletes with healthy food and a unified sports experience and the schools who provided transport for the athletes.”
Fridays match bought together athletes from across Upolu’s development program and the selection panel members were impressed by the talent and improvement shown by the players. Sports Director To’omata Walterlee Imo said that “Our athletes are showing discipline in the way they are playing to their positions and following the team strategies.”
Preparing for the 2015 Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles, SO Samoa is in the final stages of selecting the women’s unified football team that will represent Samoa. After winning gold at the 2013 Asia Pacific Games in Australia, the Women’s team will now take on the top teams from Europe and the America’s.
Once athletes are selected for national duties they will be required to participate in a full health screening and three training camps preparing them physically and mentally for the on and off field experiences in the USA. To’omata said “the training camps will focus on team cohesion and preparing the athletes for the experience of being away from their families for more than a week, staying in a hotel, going through customs and travelling on planes.”