It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Tonga’s Loto-Tonga Soka Centre, with local coaches receiving guidance and support. OFC Player Development Officer Phil Parker was in Nuku’ualofa to have a look at the grassroots environment, complete assessments about the needs of the coaching staff and connect with those in charge of the grassroots and youth football area.

Twenty grassroots coaches joined a workshop to introduce a range of different activities that can be used across the main island of Tongatapu. The workshop came with the Football Player Development Activity resource book, which contained resources to assist grassroots coaches to be able to deliver activities that focus on players actions.

“In the grassroots, we have a very strong belief and its backed up by lots of evidence and scientific reports, to say that between the age of 8 and 12 years old the child’s brain is in its super absorbent stage of its life,” Parker told the Tonga Football Association.

“This is where we target our grassroots activities, where we encourage our children to execute the action rather than think about the tactics of the game. This will lead to a long term player development relationship with the ball, which then hopefully over time will lead the player to be able to think clearly under pressure during the game”.

OFC Player Development Officer Phil Parker CREDIT: Tonga FA

This week also saw a FIFA-Member Association Futsal Coaching Course in Tonga. It involved five days of learning, sharing, running and demonstration, all organised by Tonga Football Association’s Technical Director, Kilifi Uele.

The Level One course was conducted by FIFA Futsal Coach Instructor, Juliano Schmeling, who is based in Auckland, New Zealand. Schmeling has run the course in Fiji and Samoa before he headed to Tonga for his last coaching course for the year.

“Now we are closing the course but this is just the beginning for Tonga in coaching Futsal,” Schmeling said.

“We discussed with Kilifi that next year we are hoping to have a coach license course here because it will be more helpful for the coaches. Again how the participants were discussing and working on how to develop this sport in the country I’d say after one to three years, Tonga will be up there in Futsal.”

The course had 23 participants, all of whom received certificates for completing this Level One coaching course.

Juliano Schmeling and Tonga Football Association’s Technical Director, Kilifi Uele

FIFA Futsal Coach Instructor, Juliano Schmeling