American Samoa – When A Defeat Becomes A Victory
American Samoa is one of FIFA’s smallest member associations and to be found in the lower reaches of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Nevertheless, football fever is burning brightly on this tiny pacific island.
The XIII South Pacific Giaines in Samoa from 25 August to 8 September 2007 were always going 10 he cough for American Samoa and ihcir coach, David Brand. They were Iuck to even make the plane to Samoa with rumours abounding that the team might withdraw from the tournament altogether as players, aware of the strong possibility of heavy defeats and consequent public derision, developed an anxiety about playng at the Toleafoa J.S. Blatter Playng Fields in Apia.
After much cajoling by Brand, the squad eventually arrived in Samoa but they soon wished they had not bothered after suffering a 12-1 loss to the favourites, the Solomon Islands. Ramin Ott scored American Samoas goal after some ponderous defending by the normally reliable George Suri and Samson Takayama saw Ott bundled down in the box. Ott converted the penalty to scenes ol delirium on the American Samoa bench but the happiness was short-lived as the Solomon Islands’ Benjamin Torori. Ajiclc Macmae and Stanley Waita piled on the goals-and the misery-for American Samoa.
Matters were hardly helped as American Samoa’s number one goalkeeper-the US-based Nicky Salapu – missed a connecting Bight to Apia and failed to make a single appearance at the tournament, leaving 17-year-old Jordan Penitusi to face the music in front of a naive and porous defence. Penitusi did his level best to maintain national pride but was instead left shell-shocked by wave after wave of unrelenting attacks.