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Coach Tahata and U18 Samoa team grateful for U18 experience
INDIA (FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship) - The island nation of Samoa finished seventh place in the recently concluded 2018 FIBA U18 Women's Asian Championship held in Bangalore, India.
Despite the rude awakening in their first foray into the Asian level competition, Head Coach June Tahata saw a lot of positive things in their U18 campaign.
FIBA interviewed Tahata and shared her thoughts and insights of their campaign in India.
How was the campaign overall?
Overall, although we didn’t come away with enough wins to keep us in the tournament we feel that this campaign has been a very successful one for us. We have come together in a short period of time showing on court improvements with every contest.
“We arrived with a goal to be a team but leave as family. This is very important to us.”
What was the experience like to finally play in the Asian level?
It has been amazing to play at this level. We don't get the chance to compete against these type of teams in our Oceania region. Now that we've been given a taste of it, we are determined to do what it takes to get more.
What are the things you’ve learned in this tournament that will push Samoa basketball forward?
Seeing the way the Asian teams prepare themselves off the court and their discipline on it. For Samoa to grow as a force, we must start our preparation earlier. Another area we can improve on is nutrition, recovery, stretching and maintaining our bodies.
We have the athletes no doubt. What we don’t currently have is the programs in place to get them to elite competition condition. Things such as sports medicine education, Physiotherapist/trainers to travel with national teams. More grassroots programs to sharpen the basic fundamentals and skills.
Like many others, we are restricted by lack of funding. We have athletes, what we need is to get regular contact and guide them through these very important facets of being in elite competition condition.
How will this affect the players?
It will give them great building blocks to being prepared for success which will, in turn, set them up to live a healthy, fruitful and successful life.
What did it teach you as a coach and a mentor?
I have learned a lot not only from observing but also talking with other teams. What I can take away personally is that I'm on the right path and must continue to learn and grow. Being prepared to evolve and better myself will greatly benefit my athletes and our national program.
What are the most memorable experiences you or the team had during the whole tournament?
Just getting here has been an experience, everything, after we landed, is a bonus. Every day we are together, we grow closer and stronger. One of the quotes I like to live by 'Blood makes you related. Loyalty makes you Family'.
Any thoughts you want to talk about?
I'm really humbled and appreciative of the way everybody has welcomed us into the FIBA Asia Championships. We've had nothing but positive feedback and a willingness to share ideas. It is the start of something special for us and our hope is to one day be knocking on the door of competing in the Div1 Championship.
Hopefully, we can build and gain some support from those who have the resources to help us get to that next level. I'd also like to personally thank the FIBA officials who have helped myself and my athletes in the build-up to this championship.