Tuesday , October 19 2021

Tonga’s local heroes encourage girls to give football a go!

OFC Women’s Football Ambassador Lositika Feke and former Tonga national women’s player Tangimausia Ma’afu served as volunteers at the Tonga Football Association’s (TFA) girls’ festival a fortnight ago, which saw over 150 girls attend.

Held on the eastern district of Tongatapu, 10 communities from Fua’amotu, Nakolo, Ha’asini, Lavengatonga, Fatumu, Lapaha, Talasiu, Navutoka and Haveluliku took part.

The day saw 12 stations set up for girls between the ages of six and 12, to learn basic football skills.

There was also a dedicated station for those under five to play games.

The event was led by TFA Grassroots Development Officer Lui Muavesi and assisted by TFA Women’s Football Development Officer Lupe Likiliki and TFA Head of Women’s Football Adelaide Tuivalala.

Feke said when she was approached by Tuivalala it was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down.

“It was my first time being able to do something like this and a great learning experience for me thanks to Laite (Tuivalala),” Feke said.

“I also know what is expected of me as an OFC Women’s Football Ambassador and it was the perfect time to carry out my duties by motivating and inspiring young girls to get in touch with football.”

Feke, 18, was among the first Tongans to play at a FIFA tournament (playing futsal at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics) and earned her first senior cap with Tonga at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup that same year.

She was also announced as Tonga’s OFC Women’s Football Ambassador at the OFC Women’s Strategy Launch event in July this year.

Ma’afu, who is now a goalkeeping coach in Tonga, won the Golden Gloves award in 2014 during the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship and put her hand up to help at the event for her community of Lapaha.

OFC Women’s Football Manager Emma Evans praised the TFA’s initiative.

“It is great to see TFA providing young girls with another opportunity to give football a go and learn off fantastic role models like Lositika and Tangimausia,” Evans said.

“Introducing young girls to role models is crucial for engaging, retaining and most importantly inspiring young girls across the Pacific.”

TFA will roll out two more girls’ festivals themed ‘Pinktober’ in support of breast cancer awareness month, with details to be confirmed at a later date.

About Arunava Chaudhuri

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