FFS media was given the opportunity to catch of with their coach Terry O’Donnell on what contributed to the success of the team.
There were several factors that contributed to Kiwi having such a good season:
Firstly, the team operated with a very small squad and was only forced to change the basic starting eleven on a few occasions for injuries and suspensions. Then we had a very good impact bench – players who could add a different dimension when they came on.
Secondly, we changed the basic formation to suit the players that we had available to present a winning combination. Instead of playing with a back 3 we reverted to a back 4 supported by a holding mid-field player. We then concentrated on playing a horseshoe pattern to get the balls down the wings and mid-field players and defenders into the opposition box.
Thirdly, fitness; to play the formation we had there had to be a high degree of fitness and we concentrated 50 yard sprints and support play.
Fourthly, training was always with a ball to enhance ball skills and passing – very little was done in the way of fitness work that did not involve a ball. It can be noticed that during the season Kiwi was very good at passing and interchange of positions. The evidence is the confidence that the players have on the ball during games. The focus of training and future development of the team is the passing between channels and creating opportunities for passing. Instead of a player with the ball having just one option for the pass we want to give him 2 every time adopting a system of playing in triangles and support the player on the ball.
The deployment of the holding mid-field player enabled the team to pressurize teams in their own half without exposing the defence. This also contributed to a better linkage between defence and attack which is a must when the team is concentrating on a passing game.
It must also be said that Bani our goalkeeper does not display spectacular and flamboyant saves – he goes about his business in an effective and efficient way and in many games he pulled off tremendous saves to keep the team in the game. Indeed he only conceded goals in 3 games all season!
Normally I would not single out any one player or coach or support staff as I believe everyone plays a part, but for this season I would make special mention of Andrew Taylor both as a player and coach. Andrew has suffered from crippling injuries this season but has never missed a training session. His passion for the club has been contagious to the players and staff alike.
For the most part he has contributed as a player from the bench, but he was able to take instructions on to the pitch and make them work in reality to close out games when it was important. He is an excellent passer and distributer of the ball which acted as an example to the other players and actually calmed everyone down when we were under a bit of pressure.
On the coaching side he has grasped the new concepts introduced to the team and has made them work in the Samoan context. He is indeed a tremendous asset to the team and the club as a whole.
The majority of our goals came from open play which of course is not a bad thing however we were a little disappointed we did not score more goals from our set plays. Our ball retention from throw-ins and free kicks was good but we really didn’t put enough pressure on opposition defences when we had free kicks in positions where we had goal scoring opportunities.
It has been a great season where we have all enjoyed our football and it is a great reward for all the efforts in training and during the games that we have claimed the Premier League Championship. We have enjoyed great backing from our supporters at every game and enjoy a special relationship with them. The only thing you can do with Champions is give them more challenges and over the coming weeks we will try our utmost to retain our Samoa Cup title that we won last season and then prepare to represent Samoa in the Oceania Champions league next season.
Kiwi Soccer Club – Women’s League Champions
Key to success
This is a wonderful occasion to add the League Championship to the Futsal Championship the Kiwi Soccer Club Ladies have already won this season.
This has been a remarkable season in which the Ladies team has gone undefeated. However it has not been a season without challenge as some of the key players were sidelined due to pregnancies – no doubt due to the need for future players for the club!
But, joking apart, I have really been impressed with the dedication shown by the ladies team in training and in playing. For the most part the ladies have trained with the Premier League players particularly in improving their ball skills and I have seen a dramatic improvement in some of our younger players in this regard. One player in particular when I first observed would just kick the ball every time it came to her, no matter what direction she was facing, and now she has the confidence and ability to control the ball and dribble past players and pass with accuracy. She has now been selected for trials with the national team!
However, this Championship is not due to the improvement in the younger players alone – the more experienced players played a huge part in winning the Championship. They provided the leadership both on and off the field to the younger players and contributed their share of goals and goal saving tackles.
What was also very pleasing was the distribution of goals scoring throughout the team – almost every player scored a goal!
Going through the season undefeated is a great achievement and needs a special team spirit and dedication and the Kiwi girls have shown that this season.
This is the first time I have coached a ladies team and I have enjoyed every minute – there has been a keenness to learn and a determination to win and I am very proud to be associated with this team.