Atataa left football since 2003, and now they returned back with four teams to participate in the The Malie Soka tournament although they faced difficulties with regards transportation.
Atata is one of those smaller islands of Tongatapu and they have to travel by boat to Nuku’alofa, before catch a bus or a van to transfer them to Loto-Tonga where the Home of Football situated.
Taniela Fonua is a former football national player and he used to play for Atata Football Club before they withdrew and he is currently the volunteer for Just Play in ‘Atata and also their coach.
‘’I remembered back in those days when the football played at the Mala’e Pangai, we had team in all the divisions except for women. The oldies in the Islands are now happy when I announced that our children would participate in the Malie Va’inga tournament,’’ Fonua says.
‘’The first day I had the training, everyone presented including parents and grandparents.’’
‘’Our first boat trip to come for the first match day, everyone in the island jumped to our boat and escorted us to the capital, Nuku’alofa, and they followed us here to Loto-Tonga.’’
‘’It is so expensive to pay one of our big boat to bring our children, but I’m so grateful that the Just Play Project Manager, Palu ‘Uhatahi approved to donate some funds to assist in paying for our boat. This is a huge assistance to us.”
‘’The children did not play any sport in the island, except for swimming, but now they all played football boys and girls,’’ Fonua added.
‘’My U 12 mixed team performed really good today, and we are so excited as we thought Tofoa will beat us. Tofoa has been participating in the Just Play festival for almost two years and they are more experienced then my team, but my team gave their all and we drew, 3 all.
‘’We will continue to focus on this age group because in the near future they will play in the first division or premier,’’ Fonua said.
The game between Atata and Tofoa is one of the most entertaining and very impressive in all the Malie Va’inga games today.
It was fun when watching their supporters moved around with their team and the atmosphere were full of fun and laughter.
The Malie Va’inga tournament brought almost six hundred children and supporters to play 34 games for only 3 divisions.