3 Dec 2014

Sport: Samoa softball coach admits qualifying for worlds a big ask

8:39 am on 3 December 2014

The Samoa softball coach Rob Siolo says it's a shame that only two teams from Oceania will compete at next year's World Championships in Canada.

New Zealand regained the World title on home soil last year, with Australia third and Samoa finishing in a share of seventh place.

Despite that success only two teams from next weekend's Oceania Series will qualify for the 2015 Championships in Saskatoon, which will feature 16 countries.

Rob Siolo, a former Samoa international himself, has taken over the coaching reins from Chris Kohlhase and says the decision is a bit of a head-scratcher.

"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 all playing off just for two spots is 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".

Despite the challenging format, Rob Siolo believes with the Tanifa squad remaining largely intact they will again prove tough to beat.

"When you look at our preparation and our results we had some good results leading into the World Series having played the Black Sox [where] we were lucky to come away with the win 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".

Rob Siolo says because the Oceania series is only short he's opted to select a squad based entirely in New Zealand.

Full Squad:

Zane Siolo

Greg Anderson

Joel Harris

Michael Niu

Kallan Compain

Josh Cooke

Gene Lutton (Robinson)

Gerard Long

Josh Niu

Campbell Enoka

Tony Niu

Bernie Hale

Matt Moriarty

Cambell Ngarimu