Another one bites the dust

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

It was inevitable, wasn’t it? After the failed campaign called the Manu Samoa international season thus far, it was only a matter of time before heads started rolling among the Manu Samoa management ranks.

And today, one of the worst kept secrets in Apia is confirmed. 

On the front page of the Sunday Samoan you are reading, Head coach, Namulauuu Alama Ieremia, has become the first one to take the plunge, resigning from the role.

“I took on this role knowing the challenging circumstances and the changing profile and landscape of international rugby for Manu Samoa,” Namualuulu said. 

“Although the goal was to win and build towards the World Cup in Japan, the losses of this campaign have proven too costly for everyone.”

“I feel I still have much to give this role so I’m hugely disappointed with this outcome, but as Head Coach, I alone must take full responsibility for our results.  I believe my decision today is the best one for our beloved Manu Samoa team.”

In resigning, Namulauulu joins a long list of coaches to have quit the role in the not too distant past. Indeed the song “another one bites the dust” continues to play loud and clear at the Samoa Rugby Union in as far as coaches go.

And there is no guarantee that Namulauulu’s assistants are secured. 

Last week, it was revealed that Aaron Mauger, who had signed a three-year-deal with S.R.U last year, has secured the lead role at the Highlanders. Although he hasn’t said anything official about his role with Samoa, he could also be on the outer. 

And many more in the Manu Samoa management, which means the fallout, is far from over.

The question remains as to whether Namualuulu resigned out of his freewill or whether he was pushed after the review. Whatever the case might be, one thing is for certain. While Namulauulu’s blood will provide temporary relief for the crowd who had called for his head last month, it doesn’t solve anything for Samoan rugby.

The fact remains the national team is in disarray. Some of the players who had played at Apia Park the last time the team fronted up here might not be coming back at all.

 And with Namulauulu quitting half way through his contract, the continuation of the work becomes a critical question. And there is still the issue of Manu Samoa needing to qualify for the Rugby World Cup at stake. 

Oh the drama. 

So what do we make of all this? Let’s just say that if you wanted Namulauulu gone after the losses, you should be a very happy now. If you are one of the coaches who has been eyeing the position, well get your application ready. Here’s your chance.

But anyone thinking that any other high profile international coach would be keen to step in can forget it. The history of Samoan rugby is littered with coaches resigning and getting the sack.

Namulauulu has become the latest. We can hardly blame the man. His boots are perhaps the most unenviable shoes to be in in Samoa right now. He has obviously carried the weight of the disappointment and frustrations and he feels that he just cannot continue. And being the leader we know that he is, he has done the honourable thing. Good on you Alama.

Aside from that, this is another chapter in the shameful history of Samoan rugby. As we’ve said before, it is yet another band aid solution applied to where a full surgery is sorely needed.

Manu Samoa’s fault and failure, we believe, is not entirely the coach’s fault.

We think the bigger question should be asked of who appointed him and why?

They too should be held accountable. They set him up to fail.

Let me refresh your memory. Namualuulu is no stranger to Samoan rugby. He was involved in the last Manu Samoa World Cup campaign as an Assistant Coach, which was a disaster. 

When he was initially appointed to the role, many questions were asked. How was it that Stephen Betham was made the sacrificial lamb while Namualuulu waltzed right through? 

Now look at what’s happening. Ironic, isn’t it?

Still we maintain that the Manu Samoa’s failure is certainly not the fault of one man. This is the result of systems that have failed before and will surely fail again unless we take a different path.

As for Namulauulu, thanks for your work. You have done your part. You took on an enormous challenge, tried your best given the circumstances and when the team failed, you have shown the true qualities of a leader by owning up, taking the blame and moving on. It’s an example the hierarchy at the Samoa Rugby Union should emulate. Otherwise we will still be singing “another one bites the dust” come this time next year.

What do you think? Write and share your thoughts with us!

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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