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Toa Samoa players get monetary gifts from Government

Twenty eight Toa Samoa players and officials were presented $5,000 tala each monetary gifts during a dinner hosted by the Government at the Taumeasina Island Resort last night.

APIA, SAMOA – 31 DECEMBER 2022: The envelopes were presented by the Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa to each of the players and officials.

The Minister of Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Molioo said the funds were through the International Business Finance Centre (IBFC) the marketing arm of the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA) that has been sponsoring Toa Samoa over the years as well as the general development of Samoan sports.

She said, IBFC met with Lakapi Samoa last week where benefits for players were presented to the Samoa Rugby Union.

Mulipola told the Toa Samoa players that the monetary gifts do not equal the benefits the players are getting from their playing contracts but it was a token of recognition by the Government on behalf of the people of Samoa for the players contribution and sacrifice for Samoa.

During the formalities, Rugby Hall of Famer, and four time World Cup player, Muliagatele Brian Lima acknowledged the Toa Samoa players and their contribution for Samoa.

The Manu Samoa Sevens Coach who won the Cup of the Capetown HSBC Sevens leg several weeks ago, acknowledged Toa Samoa captain Junior Paulo and players.

“Your performance and commitment on the world stage, has made our small country of only 200k people bigger on the world map,” he said.

Manu 7s siva tau
Manu 7s siva tau

The Manu Samoa 7s team led by skipper Melani Matavao performing the Sivatau to end last night’s formalities in honour of Toa Samoa.

Muliagatele Brian Lima started his service for Samoan rugby as the youngest player of the 1991 World Cup at nineteen years old where Manu Samoa upset Wales and Argentina and had a close run with eventual champions Australia, and announced the arrival of Samoan rugby on the world stage.

Muliagatele thanked the Toa Samoa players that included the sought after 19 year old fullback Joseph Suaali’i who was honoured by his family with the bestowal of a chiefly title last week.

“I thank you for the sacrifice you made in opting to play for Samoa. For your love of Samoa above the bigger countries of your residence,” said Muliagatele.

He also acknowledged the Samoan weightlifters and his own Manu Samoa Sevens team.

“We are brothers, and as of this week, the last of 2022, we end this sporting year for Samoa by putting our country on a high pedestal and in our sports achievements, we bring happiness and unity to our people,” said Muliagatele.

Then addressing his Sevens team, “The end of this year’s achievements, is the beginning for a new year.” He also acknowledged Manu Samoa 15s for winning the Pacific Cup 2022.

The night capped off with the champion Manu Samoa Sevens players performing the Sivatau led by skipper Melani Matavao.

The Toa Samoa players are visiting Savaii Island today where many of the players originate from and will be visiting two locations at Palauli and Satupa’itea where rugby league was played on the island.

The team will then be hosted by the Saanapu Congregational Christian Church on Sunday before winding down their Samoan Homecoming experience to head back on Monday to their playing contracts in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.