Pacifica Cup: Second tournament slated for Samoa next June

It's still to be confirmed, but the second Pacifica Cup has been tentatively scheduled for June 2002 in Apia, Samoa.

Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Samoa's independence, it is planned to invite the same teams which competed in the inaugural event in Auckland in February this year, minus the New Zealand Maori.

The ICC's East Asia-Pacific Development Officer, Matthew Kennedy, said a final decision was expected within a month.

A key aspect of the tournament structure to be finalised is its format - this year's event featured some tremendously lop-sided results, particularly between the two Asssociate countries - Fiji and Papua New Guinea - and the remaining teams - the Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

One suggestion was to have the winner of a pool featuring Affiliates and New Territories only meeting Fiji and PNG in a round robin to decide the Cup.

Meanwhile, cricket's future at the South Pacific Games will be addressed at the East Asia Pacific conference in Melbourne next January.

A cricket event will be staged at the 2003 South Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji, with up to eight teams participating. Cricket has tradtionally been included on the Games roster only when they are held in a cricket playing country.

While some see cricket's inclusion in Olympic and regional Games as a stage for selling cricket as a 'world' sport, ICC officials have regarded cricket's participation as a 'pie-in-the-sky' issue.

It is understood that an ICC sub-committee recently voted to have cricket recognised as an Olympic sport without seeking to have it included on th roster. In many countries, especially in Europe, this entitles national bodies to government funding.

The South Pacifc Games is the only Games where cricket has featured as a sport, apart from a brief flirtation at the Olympics at the start of the last century.

Although its permanent inclusion would give cricket two South Pacific international tournaments, perhaps the Games could be used as a means of giving newer countries such as Solomon Islands and American Samoa an easier introduction to this level.