Women's football in Tonga begins a new era

  • Tonga wants to develop women's football

  • New pilot project launched by FIFA

  • "The start of the programme was tremendous"

The Kingdom of Tonga, which is part of Polynesia and is located about 5,000 kilometres east of Australia, is made up of more than 170 islands.

Alongside rugby, football is one of its most popular sports, and the aim is to grow the game there in the near future. Indeed, this very Friday on the Vava'u archipelago, the Tongan Football Association (TFA) inaugurated a new technical centre, which is the centrepiece of the country’s plan to grow and develop the game outside of the capital of Nuku’alofa.

Now, thanks to a pilot programme launched this week, the focus turns to women’s football on six islands. Four of the largest islands ('Eua, Tongatapu, Vava'u and Ha'apai) will fully participate in the programme, while two more remote ones (Niuafo'ou and Niuatoputapu) will take part in the MA Coach Education Certificate in Vava'u and receive training equipment, as well as a customised training programme.

"The start of the programme in 'Eua, Vava'u and Tongatapu was tremendous. We’re doing everything possible in terms of working with the clubs and football associations for a successful outcome," said Adelaide Tuivailala, head of women's football at the TFA.

"We’ve already established the study curriculum, which will be our guide for the next 16 weeks. All the associations and football clubs were very excited and grateful to have received the equipment provided by FIFA."

To mark the conclusion of the project this weekend, a football tournament between the participating islands will be held.

The big goal: to continue to develop and support football, including on the more remote islands.