For many in Samoa, sport is not just a leisure activity.
It’s a pathway to better economic opportunities.
For three hard working young football players, they have the opportunity many dream of to attend Hasting Boys High School.
There they will have the chance to excel academically and on the field for their chosen sport.
Falaniko Naumea, Asi Stanley Mamea, and Jarvis Filimalae have been awarded full scholarships to attend Hasting Boys.
The scholarships cover airfares, tuitions and uniforms and other costs.
The scholarships were made possible through the intervention of Football Federation Samoa.
According to the Technical Director of Football Federation of Samoa, Martin Tamasese, he was contacted by Grant Hastings and was asked if he knew of any Samoan players currently living in New Zealand who were keen to attend the school.
Mr. Tamasese said he didn’t know of any players in New Zealand but instead talked up the locally-based boys, hoping they would consider taking an interest in them.
Finally after some negotiations, Hastings gave the green light.
“It’s a privilege for us to have these kinds of opportunities for our local players,” said Mr. Tamasese.
“We’re also waiting for another school in New Zealand for the same opportunity. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to get more experience not only in football but in education.”
The scholarships will be reassessed in 2018.
The recipients of scholarships have worked hard for it and each of them has a distinguished playing career.
Falanik o Naumea, 15, is from Vaivase-Tai and has enjoyed playing soccer since he was five years old.
Naumea has climbed the ranks of the Football Federation, first being selected for the U12 team and then being selected for the National U17 team.
Asi Stanley Mamea has also had an outstanding soccer career.
He too is a product of hard work and dedication. He credits his mother for getting him into the sport at a young age.
Both are wide-eyed and ready for the greatest opportunity of their young lives. They are well aware of the once in a lifetime opportunity they’ve been given and were adamant that they will make the most of the experience.