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FFAS FIFA-MA referee course ends with gits and certificates

Nicky Salapu (middle) with Alex Godinet, and FIFA referee instructor Tevita Ve’a

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —  “This is not the finish line, only the beginning of your journey as a referee or assistant referee,” said FIFA instructor, Tevita Ve’a of Tonga, to the 21 FFAS participants of the FFAS FIFA-MA referee course on Friday, August 9, 2019.

 “I want to see many referees and assistant referees in Oceania from all of our islands, and if you do your part I know I will see you at OFC tournaments, and maybe later you’ll go on to FIFA tournaments as well,” Ve’a pointed out.  “We need to build our referee development in Oceania and I hope that referees from American Samoa can help to increase that number.”

FFAS president, Sen. Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet, in officially closing the course, added to Ve’a’s message.

 “It is your turn to take what you’ve learned here and pass it on to your clubs, teach them about the laws of the game because if you understand them well, your players will become better players,” Faiivae said.  “If you do nothing with what you’ve learned this week from Tevita, then you have wasted your time, and our time as well.

 “It is the executive committee’s aim to have the best referees officiate our games, and that is why we push for this course every year,” Faiivae added.  “I want to take this time to thank Tevita for his hard work this week, and this is very good for us because FIFA sent to us a referee from our own area and not someone from a different region. This helps us because Tevita understands and knows our struggles, and we also understand him when he uses examples to explain his teachings.”

One referee participant, Nicky Salapu, said he learned a lot in attending this course.

 “I also officiate games off island in Seattle but haven’t been doing it for about three months,” Salapu explained. “And even in that short time I forgot a lot of things, but this course has helped me to update myself on it. For that I am very thankful to Sen. Faiivae, CEO Tavita Taumua and the staff for allowing me to take part in this course.”

Of the 21 participants - five women and one transgender (Jaiyah Saelua) — also attended the course.

Jaiyah Saelua presents FIFA referee instructor Tevita Ve’a of Tonga one of his farewell gifts from FFAS after conducting a five-day, FFAS FIFA-MA referee course in American Samoa from Aug. 5-9, 2019.  [FFAS MEDIA/Brian Vitolio]

FFAS had three referee instructors assisting Ve’a — Sione Mau, Chin Fu Poasa and Talalelei Faalavaau.  FFAS will be sending four local referees to the FIFA Futuro course next month in the Solomon Islands — Mau, Lamese Moananu, Tapelu Tapelu Jr. and Christopher Taimovai. The latter three also took part in the FFAS FIFA-MA referee course, and all participants received certificates of attendance.

 “You should frame this certificate because it is signed by FIFA president, Mr. Gianni Infantino, and FIFA CEO, Fatma Samoura,” Faiivae said during the closing.

Taumua thanked the participants for making available their time to take part in the course, and told them they will be able to make use of their knowledge through the increase in competitions and games for FFAS.

 “We have our senior men and women’s national league coming up, and also our boys and girls U-15,” he said. “These leagues will be six months long, so we will be needing all of you out there to officiate our games.”