- Tonga is investing much more resources in developing women’s football
- With the support of FIFA, the number of participants has increased dramatically
- The region’s premier FIFA Women’s World Cup ™ is sparking growing interest
Last week, it was announced the cities and stadiums where the FIFA Women’s World Cup matches would be played in just over two years. However, anyone who thinks the effects of hosting this tournament for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere will be limited to Australia and New Zealand is mistaken.
Many ocean countries are now leading the development of women’s football more decisively and hardly anyone participates more than Tonga.
The Secretary General of the Tonga Football Association (TFA), Loy Aho, spoke of “a growing interest in societies to register new women’s teams” since it was proven that the most important women’s soccer tournament in the world was in Down will be held.
The Brazilian Football Confederation is also increasing its commitment in this regard and can count on the support and guidance of FIFA. The Football Association now has two women’s football development officers committed to all islands, not just the main island of Tongatapu.
As in neighboring countries, the incentive is particularly high in Tonga, as the opportunity this time to participate in a play-off tournament for the FIFA Women’s World Cup appears appropriate. The nations of Oceania are fighting for the event with 10 teams, three of which will eventually qualify for the finals with the participation of 32 nations.
Because New Zealand automatically qualifies, the other OFC countries offer a particularly intense race. In addition, Fiji surpassed Papua New Guinea’s traditional heavyweight champion in the Pacific region for the first time in the 2018 Oceania Nations Cup for Women. Tonga would also have a huge advantage if they participated in Australia and New Zealand, where huge numbers of immigrants from Tonga live in both countries and support their team. .
Activity in Tonga has increased steadily in recent years, but women’s football has been played in the Polynesian country for a long time. When Tonga competed for the first time in the Pacific Games in 2003, it won a bronze medal. Even after that, the team continued to show strong performances at the continental level, as women celebrated greater successes than men. And all of this in a country where rugby has traditionally been the most popular sport.
Adelaide Toifilala, President of Women’s Football at TFA and a graduate of the FIFA Women’s 2017 FIFA Women’s Tournament in managerial positions, is excited about new opportunities for the small country of just 100,000 people and is working intensively to shape the future. With the FIFA Women’s Soccer Scholarship, TFA is advancing ambitious plans in four main areas:
- Governance and leadership
- Ease of access and sharing
- Awareness and promotion
In popular sports, TFA is a hit with “Heilala Manongi”, a locally designed soccer program that aims to introduce girls to the most beautiful games. The program, which was introduced in the meantime on the four largest islands, has made a name for itself among the general public and is an important path of development for players, coaches and volunteers.
However, there is historical resistance to women wearing shorts when playing sports. “It’s great that there are so many young girls playing football today,” Tuvilala said. “We will create a safe environment for them.” FIFA.com. “This includes players, coaches, referees and administrators.”
Other goals include more women in managerial positions and thus more participation in decision-making processes, access to well-organized football facilities and an increase in the number of female players. Tonga has already achieved great successes on the last point in particular.
Aho stressed towards the conclusion FIFA.comOne of the overarching goals is “to develop a new image of women’s football in Tonga and to ensure that there are attractive development opportunities for girls and women – on and off the field.”