NUKU’ ALOFA – TONGAN international goalkeeper, Mele Likiliki of Fasi mo e Afi, is a nominee for the Oceania Football Confederation’s Women’s Player of the Year 2008 Award.
She is among 15 top women football players from Oceania who have been short-listed for the OFC’s top award to be announced in April.
Mele (25) is the first Tongan woman to be nominated for the award.
The OFC, in a Media release, stated Mele was chosen for her charisma, brave style and no nonsense approach, which were vital attributes contributing to Tonga’s Silver Medal win during the 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa.
The nominations were spread across 18 months to make up for long periods in the competition calendar where there was no international women’s football activity.
Mele, who has been playing the sport since the age of 17, said today she was very happy to be nominated for the top award – a great recognition of her skills and talent.
Mele aims to continue her career in the sport and represent Tonga in future international tournaments.
The other 14 nominees who have been short-listed are from Fiji, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and New Zealand.
For the Men’s Player of the Year Award, there are ten nominees from players who are predominantly playing in Asia and Europe.
The winner will determined by a jury consisting of members of the OFC Executive Committee, member association’s presidents, general secretaries, national team coaches and technical directors of all OFC members associations.
The General Secretary of the Oceania Football Federation, Tai Nicholas, said that nominees will be judged based on their performances from mid-July 2007 to the last day of 2008.
"I am delighted there is a women’s category, particularly after the quality of football witnessed at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup hosted by New Zealand," she said.
Story and photograph courtesy www.matangitonga.to
Action image by Vanessa Smith 2007