Young Samoans live their dreams

Lynetta Laumea-Edward, Peniata Soul Maiava and Semisi Fatutoa Semisi and Laauli Soata Utai. Picture: Football Federation Samoa/SAMOA OBSERVER

APIA – Two young Samoans are heading to Russia to rub shoulders with football royalty in the trip of a lifetime.

Peniata Soul Maiava and Semisi Fatutoa Semisi’s dream to watch the FIFA World Cup has been turned into a reality thanks to the Gazprom International Children’s social programme, Football for Friendship (F4F) 2018.

The Samoan duo leave tomorrow morning for Moscow ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Peniata will represent Samoa as a young player while Semisi will attend as a young journalist, giving the country a chance to attend the World Cup despite the national team failing to qualify for the tournament.

“I know my future in football, so it’s more than just a game. Playing football not only gives me the opportunity to improve my skills but to meet new people, make new friendships and look forward to joining the F4F.,” said Peniata.

Semisi said it’s a dream come true to participate in this opportunity and to represent his country on the world stage.

“A smile is a smile in any language. Laughter is the same in any language. Smiles and laughter is the key to friendship,” he added.

They will join 12-year-old football players and journalists from 211 countries and regions to participate in the eight-day programme.

President of Football Federation Samoa, Laupama Solomona said this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It’s very rewarding and a dream coming true, representing us well and we are proud of them.

We thank all the parents, communities and schools for their continuous support,” he said.

A total of 147 new countries and regions will take part in the F.4.F., which translates to 3,700 people aged between 12 to 16 years, having participated in the programme over the past five years.

The two chaperones for the 11 days trip is Lynetta Laumea-Edward, who is the Social Responsibility Project Manager, and Laauli Soata Utai, who is the Just Play Technical Coordinator.

F4F is an annual International Children’s social programme organized by Gazprom, an international company supporting global social projects and setting new social policy standards.