The race for the final qualifying berth at the Oceania Under 17 football Championship begins in Apia today.
The winner of this week's four-team preliminary tournament, which features Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and American Samoa, will secure the final place at Apri's tournament in Vanuatu.
The hosts have had their preparations hampered by Cyclone Evan but coach Malo Vaga says that has not had a major impact, ahead of their opening game against American Samoa, and feels his players are well enough prepared to meet the challenge.
In the later game, Tonga face the Cook Islands, who coach Timote Moleni says are deserved favourites.
"Especially with the Cook Islands, it's a good team. I've heard feedback from the people that told me Cook Islands is a good team but to me, when they go to Samoa we're trying to do our best."