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SPECIAL OLYMPICS SOCCER TEAM A GAME AWAY FROM MEDAL ROUNDS

The team's No. 1 fan, First Lady Cynthia Moliga (center) along with Head of Delegation, Tafaimamao Tua-Tupuola, Assistant HOD Leone Ulu and a few parents and other delegation members after cheering on the boys during the first day of play. [photo: Brian Vitolio, FFAS Media]

The American Samoa 5-a-side Special Olympics soccer team is a game away from competing in the medal rounds after a win and a draw against Myanmar and the Philippines, respectively on December 3.
 
They drew with the Philippines 4-4 and edged Myanmar 3-2 as First Lady  Cynthia Moliga watched and cheered from the sidelines.  Also on hand to cheer the team on was shot put silver medalist for American Samoa, Dennis Vaiga.
 
American Samoa has been grouped together with the Philippines, Myanmar and Samoa as a result of the divisioning process held on December 2 of the 5-a-side version of soccer for the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle, Australia.
 
There are a total of three divisions with the Territory's squad playing in Division B and will resume the competition on December 5 (December 4 local time) after a rest day on December 4.
 
American Samoa's last game of the round-robin contest to determine the top two teams that will vie in the gold match on December 6 will be against Samoa.  A win will improve the territory's team's chances of competing in the game for gold.
 
First Lady Moliga bid the American Samoa Special Olympics team farewell as she will be making her way back home with Officer So'o Moliga but not before imparting words of encouragement to all the competitors, as well as treating them to a late lunch of pizza.
 
"On behalf  of your country, parents, friends and family back home, I wish you the best and we take our hats off to you," she said.  "Officer So'o an  I leave tomorrow but God Bless all of us and God Bless you and your efforts."
 
Head of Delegation, Tafa Tua-Tupuola, thanked the first lady and praised all the competitors, saying she was  amazed with their performance.
 
FIRST DAY RESULTS
 
A win, draw and loss were the results of the first day by the 5-a-side soccer team at the Special Olympics Asia/Pacific Games in Newcastle, Australia on December 2, 2013.
 
The team of six players and two coaches went through three games of the divisioning process, losing to Timor Leste 2-0, drawing with Australia D 0-0 and then beating Australia C 3-1.
 
"Thank you for your efforts out there and good luck to you guys in the rest of the competition," said the team's No. 1 fan, First Lady Cynthia Moliga after watching the last two games.
 
The team played well in the first two games and could have won but for a lack of fire power up front.  That's when a change of pace was made with goalkeeper Saito Mauga being moved up front to attack.
 
Mauga produced magnificently, blasting in all three goals to give American Samoa a notch in the win column.
 
"I love to score and I really want to win a gold medal with our team," Mauga said.



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