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State-of-the-art soccer stadium for the territory to be built with $5 Million in FIFA funding

Members of the Leone village aumaga
ASG however will only lease part of the land it initially said FFAS could have

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Football Federation of American Samoa (FFAS) is eagerly awaiting the building of a new soccer pitch at Tafuna (next to the FAA facility) with funds of close to $5 million dollars from the sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

This was confirmed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who arrived in the Territory last Friday by private jet on his tour of the Pacific islands to visit soccer associations in the Oceania region and inspect their soccer facilities.

He was greeted at the airport by FFAS President Fai’ivae Iuli Godinet, local senior soccer officials and members of the local soccer clubs who stood by the roadside in their respective club uniforms despite the rain, waving flags to welcome President Infantino.

The FIFA president and his entourage were then transported by police escort to the government Samoan Fale at the Su’igaula Park at Utulei, where a traditional ava ceremony was performed by members of the local soccer association to officially welcome them.

In an exclusive interview with FFAS President Fai’ivae Iuli Godinet, he revealed that initial negotiations with government regarding the lease of the piece of land at Tafuna next to the Veterans’ Memorial Stadium ended, with the whole piece of land made available for lease to the local soccer association, to build a state-of-the-art soccer stadium complete with an academy, which would house visiting teams.

However, Fai’ivae stated that he has since been informed by government officials that there had been a change of plans and that the land at Tafuna which FFAS had cleared in anticipation of this multi million dollar project had been divided into two lots.

The lot next to the road will be utilized by ASG while the lot inland had been earmarked for the local soccer association’s use.

 “This has been a big blow to our plans,” Fai’ivae stated. “This was going to be our association’s gift to the future generations of American Samoa not only in the sport of soccer but also to other sports because they would be allowed to use the facilities. And if our lease was not renewed some time in the future we would hand everything to the government to use for the benefit of our young people. However at the end of the day, the government’s final decision will prevail.”

The FFAS president told Samoa News that despite this drawback, they are grateful for the space they have been given by government and will prioritize the building of an artificial turf soccer pitch to international FIFA standard specifications for international games and local championship games, and another field for local games and training for local clubs.

According to FFAS CEO Tavita Taumua, the association’s main field at Pago Pago was also built to FIFA specifications, but with natural grass.

 “Our main field at Pago Pago where our main headquarters are also located meets FIFA international standards and we have hosted many Oceania tournaments here over the years,” he explained. “But the location of the field here in Pago Pago village poses a few problems, because once the village curfew sounds for evening prayers at 6:30pm, we have to respect it.”

Taumua pointed out that this is also the reason why no floodlights have been installed at the field because night games would disturb the peace at a time when families are spending quality time together.

 “The field is also right in front of the Pago Pago Catholic Church,” the FFAS CEO pointed out. “We are very grateful to the village of Pago Pago for allowing our association to use this historical piece of land, and we reciprocate by respecting their laws and way of life.”

Taumua stated that this is the reason why the building of the new proposed field at Tafuna is very important because there will be longer hours where games, tournaments and even night games can be staged.

He revealed that right now, work has been put hold until a lease of the land can be finalized with government.