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Improvements needed for upcoming tournaments

Both teams returned winless and scoreless from their respective groups of the competition but with them comes experience from five international matches for the men and four for the women.
“The experience our players gained from the competition will go a long way in helping them prepare for upcoming tournaments that they will be competing in,” said FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet, who watched all nine games and stayed with the teams at the Athletes’ Village. “The talent we played against was much higher, especially in the men’s competition, but they fought hard and I give my hat off to both teams for doing their best.”
FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua, who was part of the management team that oversaw the soccer contingent in New Caledonia, also acknowledged the useful experience gained.
“Experience is great, it’s going to help them prepare mentally for our tournaments in the near future and the ball is now in our technical department’s hands in terms of working on the improvements needed to make our team better,” he said.
The tournaments on the horizon for the men is the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ in November (Samoa) and for the women, the London 2012 Olympic qualifiers in March 2012 (Fiji).
The men are currently training for their qualifiers in November while the women start theirs in two weeks.
MEN’S PACIFIC GAMES SUMMARY
FFAS Pacific Games Technical Advisor Larry Mana’o summarized the men’s team with a bullet-point presentation.
His summarization:
• Be better organized defensively
• Continue trapping and passing sessions
• Injuries affected team
• Substitutes need to be better prepared mentally
• Develop offensive tactics
• Need more competition and game experience.
His recommendations:
• Recruit more seasoned players
• Need better quality in players touch and ball control
• Improvement of pace of player such as quicker reads and reactions
• Improvement of soccer IQ
The men’s 2011 team, in comparison to the 2007 Pacific Games campaign in Samoa, vastly improved in goals against while dropping in the goals for departments.
Of the five opponents American Samoa faced in New Caledonia, two of them they played against in 2007 — Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
Against Vanuatu in ’07 American Samoa lost 15-0. In NC 2011 they lost 8-0.
Against Solomon Islands in Samoa American Samoa lost 12-1 while this year they only lost 4-0.
In the goals for department, they were one better in Samoa with a goal while going goalless in New Caledonia.
Of the 18 players in the 2011 squad, only five competed in 2007.
WOMEN’S PACIFIC GAMES SUMMARY
His summarization:
• Fitness was huge issue
• Side-to-side defensive shifts improved defending
• Flexibility of changing players positions was great for versatility
• Passing and trapping improved in each game
• Players confidence grew and gained great competitive experience
• Need more competition to improve as a team
His recommendations:
• Assess team chemistry
• Need to get more seasoned players
• Team needs to be challenged more
• Strong fitness program for players
In terms of goals against, the women’s 2007 team had better results.
In ’07 they lost to Papua New Guinea 6-0 while in ’11 they fell 8-0; against Solomon Islands they fell 2-0 in Samoa while losing 4-0 in New Caledonia; they walked away from the women’s competition in Samoa with one point from a 1-1 draw against Cook Islands while this time around they failed to secure a point and a goal in the entire tournament.
Of the 17 players that went to New Caledonia, only two were part of the 2007 squad.
“These are all great points he brought up in his report and the association, especially our technical department of which he is a part of, will be targeting these areas he pointed out as top of our list of improvements to be worked on,” said Taumua.

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