Beach Soccer has been popular in the Haápai groups eventhough it is still an infant.
In October 2015, Beach Soccer was introduced to the Haápai groups, and the two large islands of Haápai, Lifuka and Foa grabbed this opportunity with both hands. And right now, beach soccer is like a everyday game for the youth of this Island, Haápai. The two large islands of Haápai is Lifuka and Foa, and its consist of so many sandy beaches and everyone has easily access to those beaches.
Over the week-end, there were 9 senior teams, 4 women’s teams and 6 U 16 teams gathered to Fangaleóunga Beach Soccer field to kick off their Beach Soccer Major League for 2017.
Mr. Penisimani Fatafehi, the Development Officer for Haápai said, ‘’we have two new women’s team this year also two senior mens.’’
“’The registration closed on Wednesday, then on Friday two new teams came up and I advised them with the committee’s decision.’’
‘’I am so overwhelming to learn beach soccer is really growing here in Haápai, and also to receive good feedback from many people including the Governor.”
Dr. Tevita Vakasiuola is currently the Chairman of the Haápai Football Committee, and he attended the short official opening ceremony that took placed in Fangaleóunga Beach Soccer Field to mark the beginning of their first competition for 2017.
Dr Vakasiuola says, ‘’You probably have heard the opening of our Legislative Assembly this year! Can anyone tell me one point that His Majesty wishes us to address?’’
Of course none of the players raise their hands!
Then, Dr Vakasiuola rephrased, ‘’His Majesty, King Tupou VI, remind us the importance of leaving a healthy life style! So when, you play beach soccer every day, six days a week, you are contributed to what HM King Tupou Vi wishes for us to do. Therefore, I am here to support you and to encourage you all to continue on practising and playing everyday and Haápai will become healthier and happier, thank you.’’
The Hon. Governor of Haápai, Hon. Moále Finau is one of the beach soccer supporter in Haápai, and he came all the way to Fangaleóunga to watch few games.
The Governor Finau says, ‘’ as you all know, we don’t have that many people live here in Haápai, like Vavaú or Tongatapu, but when I learnt Beach Soccer is just a five a side football, I said wow this sport is perfectly fit for Haápai.’’
‘’I am here today to witness the beautiful of this sport, and I’m glad Haápai people is in to playing beach soccer nowadays.’’
‘’May I have this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to Tonga Football Association for directing Beach Soccer to develop here in Haápai, and I believe this is a great move for bringing this great sport for Haápai, and we will contribute to build beach soccer to be on top and sooner to represent Tonga to the world, ‘’ said Governor Finau.