The 2020 edition of the OFC Champions League is very special for Samoan football: their national champion, Lupe o le Soaga, recorded the very first win of a Samoan club at OFC Champions League – Group Stage, after a schocking over the Fijian side Ba by 4-3 in the Group D of the tournament. Despite their superb victory, it was not enough for the Samoan side to proceed to the knock-out stage – but surely, they are not disappointed for not making it, since their remarkable performances already are enough to make a huge impact at Samoan football scenario.
Not only Lupe was there for Samoa; the Samoan international Vito Laloata also featured at OFC Champions League. The Samoan Gem represented Hekari United from Papua New Guinea in the tournament. Laloata and his team could not proceed as well as Lupe – his former team – to the knock-out stage, but it is already something to celebrate the presence of a Samoan player in high-level side as Hekari at Oceanian football stage. Laloata featured in the three matches of Hekari in the tournament – two coming from the bench – and provided one assist in the final match against Galaxy FC as his side won the match by 2-1.
The historical win of Lupe o le Soaga against Ba was not the only match the side impressed: despite losing its first match in the process by 6-0 against AS Vénus, Lupe hold the powerful Auckland City to only two goals in their final pool match, being only the second team from Samoa to allow a New Zealand to score only twice in a match.
The level of football displayed by the Samoan side impressive fans and football related people all over Oceania – a good sign of the development of sport in Samoa. The team led by the experienced Andrew Setefano will have good memories to rememeber from their experience in Tahiti – but they need to make this a stepping stone to keep its development ahead. The same can be said on Vito Laloata presence at Hekari United – a possible path for Samoan players to rise and play their club football in better-developed leagues in the region.