The Manu Sina Sevens was once a force to be reckoned with on the pitch.
After their dismal performance in Oceania, many are left wondering , what happened to the ManuSina Sevens?
Filoi Eleniko, the Development officer for the S.R.U, who accompanied the women to Oceania as the team manager, spoke to the Samoa Observer about the issues compounding issues that plague the ManuSina.
For starters , the team had only 4 weeks to prepare for Oceania. Four weeks to get their fitness levels up to par, hold trials and make selections. Not only did the team have barely enough time to prepare, but also less time to gel together as a team, creating a motley crew of rugby players, not a solidified team.
Lack of numbers also played a factor in selection for the team given that there aren’t a lot of women rugby players in Samoa.
With only four weeks to pick the team and train the girls, Ms. Eleniko blames the short notice for their performance in Fiji.
She stated, “ I was really happy with the girls performance because it’s not their fault. It was just a last minute call to go.” “It was just a last minute call for us. We tried to put together a team before we go.”
Their experience in Oceania provided a great learning curve for the players and the main take away from the tournament: Fitness.
“We know that we played to our strength and it was just their fitness that is all. You need to be fit and we need to train the players very well on how to play the game and more organized and the mental game, “ She stated.
“The atmosphere there was really good. We got a lot of support from spectators and even the Oceania staff that were running the tournament. “
Despite the tremendous amount of encouragement the team received in Fiji, the women only received criticism and complaints from the people back home.
The team has been operating without a Head Coach, putting the women between a rock and hard place. Ms. Eleniko commented on how frustrating it is to receive so much backlash but no one willing to help resolve the issue.
“After the results, everyone complained and it was like they were just waiting for us to fail. No one came to put up their hand to help out.”
“ The sad thing is, I’ve seen a lot of complaints on Facebook and negative comments on the girls performance . But we did advertise the head coach position and no one from here applied. It’s really sad, because no one put up their hand to come coach the women’s team, no one.”
Fresh from Fiji, development officers, Filoi Eleniko and Shalom Senara are hard at work to build the women’s rugby back up to it’s former glory by going all the way down to where it starts: grassroots. The duo have been hosting clinics in the rural areas and integrating womens’ competitions alongside the mens’ to build the competitive edge here in Samoa.