After contributing 24 goals to Veitongo’s victory at the 2017 Tonga Football Girls U-17 Tournament, Seini Lutu has been called up to the Tonga national squad for the upcoming OFC U-19 Women’s Championship.
“I told myself that I need to work hard so I can be selected to represent my country for the upcoming OFC U-19 Women’s Championship. That was my goal,” she said.
“When I was called for the U-19 squad, I was so happy.
‘’There is another regional competition at the conclusion of the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship – the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship – so I will definitely work hard to be in that team too.’’
Winning the tournament and receiving the call-up to wear the Tonga jersey again was a proud moment for Lutu, but the 16-year-old was definitely caught by surprise when she was also awarded Player of the Tournament.
‘’I never thought that I would claim this title, but I am so excited to be named the best female player in the whole tournament,” she said.
‘Thank you for giving me this title, and I’m sure this is a gift from God.
“I will continue to practice and play more football to keep growing and improving.”
Tonga FA Technical Director Kilifi Uele was one of the many spectators impressed with Lutu’s performance throughout the U-17 competition, and the experienced footballer believes she has plenty to offer her nation.
‘’During this tournament, Lutu led the Veitongo attack and showed her potential. When she received the ball she controlled it beautifully and she won the ball easily from opponents,” he said.
‘’I am happy she is in the U-19 squad as she needs to continue training in a proper programme.
“Lutu is one of those players that started football very young and has kept up with it. I believe her future is with football.”
Lutu was first introduced to football through the OFC Just Play Programme when she was eight years old. Never missing a chance to play, Lutu spent every Saturday taking part in Just Play activities with her little brother, and every other day playing football with her cousins on the street.
At only age 13, Lutu received her first international call up, representing Tonga in the 2014 OFC U-20 Women’s Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Since then, Lutu has represented Tonga in the 2015 OFC U-20 Championship in her home country and the 2016 OFC U-17 Women’s Championship in the Cook Islands.
The 2017 U-19 Women’s Championship will take place in Auckland, New Zealand in July, and the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship, hosted by Samoa, will follow in August.