TongaFootball > News > 2011 National Men's Team > Tonga steps up preparation for Samoa

Tonga steps up preparation for Samoa

Tonga’s national coach, Chris Williams, and his support team have stepped up preparations for the tournament which is scheduled from November 22-26, and also serves as the first step of Oceania’s qualifying path for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which for Tonga is a vital competition, according to Tonga Football Association’s General Secretary, Lui Aho, considering the team only played two international friendlies, namely against Cook Islands, in the last four years.
“TFA for years have prioritized women’s football but I believe it’s time we create a balance and reintroduce a pathway for men’s football in order to put Tonga back on Oceania’s football map” Aho says.
Tonga has produced world-class referees but have yet to make its mark with its footballers, and the custodian of the game in the kingdom is pegging its hope on the national men’s team performance in Samoa to rekindle that dream.
Besides regular trainings the Tongan team players have been in training for the past eight months during which the team had several weekend camps, preparatory tournaments and also some social events.
The first real test for Tonga was during their 10 days preparatory tour of New Zealand in September. In that time the team took on Eastern Suburbs FC and Albany United FC, where the players had the opportunity to play against classy players and gain exposure.
The team of 23 Tongan footballers has been confirmed to depart Tonga on 15 November on route to Samoa, but their preparations will receive a timely boost following acceptance by Lautoka FC for an upcoming friendly match scheduled for the 17 November in Fiji which Coach Williams is adamant will further shape his teams performance.
“It’s important to have games against high level players and teams leading up to any tournament and to play against team of high caliber such as Lautoka FC can only help boost our preparations one week out from our game proper” Williams says.
Although the team will be coming into the tournament as underdogs, Tonga is looking to pull off a surprise or two according to Coach Williams.
“our road to Samoa has been a very difficult path, however the boys have shown so much positive transformation and improvements. I have faith in my boys and I believe they will deliver that “diehard” Tongan spirit” Williams said.
The team will depart Fiji on the 20th November ahead of their first match against American Samoa on November 22, followed by Samoa on the 24th and will take on the Cook Islanders in their final game.

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