17 Jan 2017

Sport: Samoan footballers want more than qualification

1:51 pm on 17 January 2017

Having made an impressive debut to the OFC Champions League in 2015, Samoan football club Lupe Ole Soaga are confident of making a return to the 2017 edition.

Coach Paul Ualesi remains at the helm, and having added Samoa U-20 head coach to his CV in the meantime, he said he feels more than qualified to help take the squad through to the Group Stage for a second time.

Ualesi led the Samoan club champions during their 2015 debut and after defeating all three contenders in front of a home crowd during the qualifier, Lupe Ole Soaga continued that momentum in Fiji.

Lupe Ole Soaga celebrate winning the OFC Champions League Preliminary in October.

Ualesi coached Lupe Ole Soaga through to the group stage of the 2015 OFC Champions League Photo: Oceania Football

Their opening match saw them hold Tahiti's AS Pirae to a 3-3 draw however they were less fortunate against the other Group A contenders, losing to Fiji's Ba 3-1 and New Caledonia's Gaitcha FCN 8-1.

Ualesi told the OFC, for a first appearance in the international tournament the team did really well.

But the coach is determined to do even better this time round.

"It was a great learning experience for my team and although they did so well I think there is still room for improvement and a better performance for this next time around," Ualesi said.

Lupe Ole Soaga will face American Samoa's Utulei Youth FC, Cook Islands' Puaikura FC and Tonga's Veitongo FC in the round robin Qualifier kicking off 28 February to qualify for the 2017 OFC Champions League.