Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has returned as the Head of Coach of the Manu Samoa.
He replaces former coach, Namulauulu Alama Ieremia, who quit a year int o his contract after a string of poor performances.
The decision was made during a Samoa Rugby Union Board meeting on Wednesday night. Prior to the Board meeting, the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union and Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the main criteria for selecting a coach would be someone who can win games and help Samoa qualify for the Rugby World Cup.
Tuilaepa confirmed the appointment, yesterday.
“There were more than 40 applicants and the interview process was difficult given the qualifications of those who applied,” he said. “In the end, the board’s interest returned to Fuimaono.”
Tuilaepa said the Union was concerned about the team’s recent form.
“It was unclear whether they understood the instructions given by the coach or what, but what is clear is that we need a coach that has the respect of the team,” he said.
“We need a strong and vocal coach, whom the players will obey his instructions and there is no better person than Fuimaono to take this job.
“Fuimaono’s achievements in the past, with the Sevens, are no secret. He was even the head coach at the time we beat Australia’s best team.
“Now, this coach does not need to be reintroduced to the public.
“The team needs someone who can revive the aggressiveness of the players while on the field, we need someone who doesn’t have to spell out to the boys what needs to be done on the field.”
According to the Prime Minister, it was evident the players had lost their competitive spirit.
Going back to the interview process, the Prime Minister confirmed there were several overseas-based coaches shortlisted.
“However, the problem with that is they want to coach here but continue to live off-island. They wanted to come and go…. also, it’s questionable whether our players would understand their language and whether the players would heed their instructions.
“These are some of the issues the committee considered.”
The appointment ends weeks of speculations where Fuimaono was always touted as the one to take the job.
Contacted last week by the Samoa Observer, he vehemently denied being appointed.
He could not be reached for a comment yesterday.
In the meantime, Tuilaepa has called on the public to support Fuimaono.