The Pacific pride and Samoan heritage runs deep in the Cahill family and it is no wonder the son one of the region’s greatest football players has chosen to represent Samoa in the OFC U-19 Championships 2022 in Tahiti.
Kyah Cahill, the son of Socceroos legend and Ballon d’Or nominee Tim Cahill is following in his father’s footsteps. Before making his Australian debut, the senior Cahill played for the Samoa U-20 side at the age of 14 in 1994.
He was also proud of his Samoan heritage and this has obviously been carried on by his son.
“My dad’s advice was just the same as always really,” explained Kyah to OFC media.
“Just to be myself and play to my strengths and have fun most importantly.”
Tim’s influence on Kyah is made obvious by his choice of shirt number, the number 17 worn throughout Cahill Sr’s career. The similarities don’t stop there.
“Physical. Goals,” said Kyah when describing his playing style, attributes shared by 42-year-old Tim. “I play with my heart on my sleeve.”
Kyah’s connection to Samoan football does not stop with his dad as uncles Sean and Chris are also both ex-Samoa internationals.
But Kyah is currently playing his football in Qatar after previous stints in England and Spain, which has limited his opportunities to connect with his Samoan heritage. So when the opportunity arose to play for Samoa’s U-19s, Kyah snapped it up.
“My family is Samoan, but I haven’t really been in touch with it lately because I have always been so distant from the culture,” said Kyah.
“I am using this as a way to come back and see home and get around this area again and get in touch with my roots.”
Tim was nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2006 and is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest ever players. The Everton legend is in fact his nation’s record goalscorer with 50 goals, six of which came at the OFC Nations Cup in 2004, where he finished as joint top-scorer.
In 2014, he was nominated for the Puskas Award for scoring a superb goal against Netherlands.
Samoa U-19s head coach Matt Calcott is optimistic this goalscoring ability is in Kyah’s blood. He said the inclusion of the young Cahill has also boosted the morale of the team.
Samoa will be a threat in the tournament which starts this week. The team has been assembled from across Australia and New Zealand with scouting for talent with Samoan links done in the last two years
Samoa is in a group which has New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Samoa begin their OFC Under-19 Championship 2022 campaign against Vanuatu on Sunday, September 11.