Final preparations for Samoa
Monday, 27 August 2012
Ian West working with the Samoan players in Auckland
The Samoa Cricket Team are now less than three weeks away from their first ever World Cricket League tournament and with the final 14 man squad now confirmed the final preparations can begin.
Not only is this Samoa's first tournament outside of the East Asia Pacific region but they also have the honour of hosting the event at their cricketing home, the Garden Ovals in Tuanimato, just a few minutes from the Samoan capital of Apia.
Samoa will hope that the recent trend of World Cricket League hosts winning the event continues, with Kuwait and Botswana being the latest sides to be crowned champions on their own turf.
While there is much prestige for the island nation in hosting the event, a strong performance is also required if they are to continue their rise up the world rankings.
Currently ranked 44th out of 110 world cricketing nations Samoa will likely jump into the top 40 if they take out the title, and reaching the final of the event will be enough to see them promoted to World Cricket League division 7. However if they fail to finish in the top four Samoa will be relegated out of the World Cricket League competition.
The squad will assemble in Samoa on the 8th September and partake in a High Performance camp led by East Asia Pacific High Performance Manager Tom Evans and former Australian International fast bowler Ashley Noffke. Samoa will then face Japan and Vanuatu in warm up matches before the tournament gets underway on September 15th.
The African nation Ghana will be the first opponents with European side Norway up next, before another meeting with Vanuatu rounds out the group stages which will be followed by semi-finals and the final.
Samoa's High Performance Coach Ian West assessed his sides chances: "We start with games against two sides we have not faced before in Ghana and Norway then face a familiar foe in Vanuatu. We are the lowest ranked side in the competition and believe we have been drawn in the tougher of the two groups, but make no mistake; we are not going to just make up the numbers, we expect to prove the rankings wrong and be competing for the title.
"In the last few weeks I have spent time with the squad members in Samoa and those based in Auckland, they have all been training hard for the last 4 or 5 months and now we just want to get the tournament started."
Samoa squad for World Cricket League Division 8
Ben Mailata - captain (Eden Roskill CC)
Geoff Clarke - vice captain
Murphy Sua - player/coach
Ian West (Auckland University CC)
Sean Cotter (Eden Roskill CC)
Fassao Mulivai (Eden Roskill CC)
Sep 8th: Warm up match - Samoa Prime Minister`s Eleven v Vanuatu
Sep 10th: Warm up match - Samoa v Japan
Sep 11th: Warm up match - Samoa v Vanuatu
Sep 12th-14th: Training camp with East Asia Pacific Region High Performance Manager Tom Evans and Ashley Noffke
Sep 15th: WCL Round One: Samoa v Ghana
Sep 17th: WCL Round Two: Samoa v Norway
Sep 19th: WCL Round Three: Samoa v Vanuatu
Sep 20th: WCL Semi-finals
Sep 22nd: WCL Final