Strong faith sustains sports success

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Lupe ole Soaga soccer team with management. Photos: SSFA.

Lupe ole Soaga soccer team with management. Photos: SSFA.

Lupe ole Soaga has done it again. 

With nine weeks of the ongoing football tournament and the premier league team still hasn’t lost a game. 

They have been undefeated over the past three years during these club tournaments which had qualified them to be able to represent Samoa in the regionals in the previous years.

Andrew Setefano, the captain of the team, made it clear that it is not always about winning but it is more than that. 

“The support that the village shows the team means a lot. It is very inspiring. Every Saturday before our game, we go see them for their blessings and these are the fruits of their prayers. 

“I believe that is why our team is always making progress because we come knowingly every Saturday that everyone in our village is praying and seeking the Lord for his favour upon the Lupe Sooga,” he said.

Andrew is certain that not every team is perfect is they all have their flaws. If they fight during a game not only that we would get punished from the Football Federation but they will also get punished from the Village Council.

The 30-year-old is very humbled with this opportunity that he gets to be a part of, he believes that their team is just filled with boys who just love the game and they are fortunate just like him to have this experience.

He added the tournament was a competition so everyone was bringing their A game onto the field, which is why they treat every game as the final. 

He said they never wanted to underestimate the other teams because every team has the potential to be better.

Soccer may be just a sport to others but it has changed the lives of many players in the Lupe ole Soaga squad; it has opened up doors and broadened their views on so many things in life.  

Lupe ole Soaga soccer team with management. Photos: SSFA.
Lupe ole Soaga soccer team with management. Photos: SSFA.

Andrew said in Samoa it was hard to get jobs and the majority of the boys in the team were jobless and football had provided opportunities for them to be able to help their families financially. 

He believes football played a vital role in the changing of the lives of boys in the team in terms of discipline and commitment. 

Andrew said they had a policy within their team that the minute you drink, then you would be terminated from the team immediately.

He said they got together every week before the game and it was through those camps that strong ties are developed. 

“Every week we have a two-day camp on Thursdays and Fridays to prepare the boys physically, mentally and spiritually for the game on Saturday.”

He said there was no better way to show how hard they worked and how much they trusted each other than witnessing it on the field and the results that were given. 

Despite the boys coming from different villages, their captain said when they are one team, one family and they share each other’s pain, joy and suffering.

“Being called a family means that whoever is feeling down and wants to give up, we help and reach out to that person to pull that person up.”

Paul Ualesi, the coach of the Lupe Soaga, said the boys’ main focus was to work extra hard so that they could make it to the regionals in January next year that would be held in American Samoa.

He said they had two more games to play to determine if they would be able to make it to qualify or not.

Chances are, they will.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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