Samoa softballers face tough road to qualify for World Champs
Samoa face tough ask to qualify for Softball World Championships.
The Samoa softball team go into this weekend's Oceania Series as clear underdogs as they bid to qualify for the 2015 World Championships in Canada.
New Zealand regained the World title on home soil last year, with Australia third and Samoa surprising many to finish in a share of seventh place.
Former Samoa international Rob Siolo has taken over the coaching reins and told Vinnie Wylie that despite being up against it, they're looking to continue from where they left off.
ROB SIOLO: Oh absolutely there's positive spin-offs from that tournament. When you look at our preparation and our results we had some good results leading into the World Series, having played the Black Sox at the Brother Patrick [tournament]. We were lucky to come away with the win there - I think it was 4-3 or 5-4 or something like that. In any case it was a great win leading in and then we had that run in the series itself, taking the scalps of the [United] States and Great Britain, so I think it's great that a team like ours can come together at short notice and put together results like that. We're a very proud nation when it comes to playing at these events and we certainly don't just turn up to make up the numbers".
VINNIE WYLIE: In terms of the squad that you've got going into this Oceania Series, how different is it from the World Series squad?
RS: Yeah I think it's largely the same team in-tact. There's been a couple of retirements but in the main the core of that team from 2013 is there. It's led by Michael Niu and the experience of those senior players that we have: Michael, Tony Niu, Bernard Hale [and] there's a spattering of exciting youth coming through: you can look at Campbell Enoka and guys like Cambell Ngarimu coming through, who has been through the New Zealand programme and now looking to represent Samoa.
VW: Two matches against Australia and two against New Zealand and all going well two of those sides will make the final and two of them will go through to the Worlds in 2015 so everything to play for?
RS: What better opportunity or what better thing to do than to represent a country at the World Series and so everything to play for. We've had a good history of results against both the Australian and New Zealand teams of late so yep everything to play for.
VW: It is quite a tough set-up though isn't it because obviously the two teams you're up against - New Zealand [and] Australia - are very high themselves in the rankings and you having done so well last time, [having] only two of those three able to go through is in some ways a bit of a shame?
RS: Oh absolutely it's a shame. I'm not sure about the way that the ISF are thinking here but to have the number one in the world, the number three in the world and the number seven in the world playing off just for two spots seems a little challenging, right, and when you know that New Zealand took the gold medal and Australia took the bronze it seems a little strange that you wouldn't give them just right of passage straight into the World Series and having to fight it out like this is challenging but, again, it's an opportunity and it is what it is".
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: