The Samoa government is hoping to move forward with plans to build a new stadium for its national rugby team amid concerns over playing conditions at Apia Park.
Apia Park has a capacity of 12,000 and serves as the current home of the national team. It was built in 1924 and renovated four years ago ahead of the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia.
The capital city also staged the recent Pacific Games, with Apia Park serving as the main host venue. Apia Park hosted Samoa’s Pacific Nations Cup victory over Tonga on Saturday, with the game nearly called off after the pitch suffered damage caused by the Pacific Games events and torrential rain in the city.
Loau Keneti Sio, Samoa’s Minister for Sport, has stressed the need for a new stadium away from the Apia Park site, which he has described as a “swampy area”.
“We are planning to move down to where the other sports facilities are at Tuanaimato and hopefully we can build a big stadium there for rugby alone and leave Apia Park,” he said, according to Radio New Zealand.
“Actually, the area is just a swampy area, so we can’t just fix it when we come into bad weather but yes of course we are concerned with it and we are having planning so that we can push through the cabinet where we can move down to Tuanaimato going forward.”
It is hoped a new stadium could be built by 2022 and Loau Keneti Sio suggested that Samoa would ask New Zealand for funding help. Details of the potential capacity of any new ground have not been revealed.
The playing conditions for Saturday’s match at Apia Park have come in for criticism. World Rugby signed off on plans to stage the fixture three days beforehand but continued bad weather led to swamp-like conditions.
Image: Samoa 2019