Photo Credit: Tonga FA

Former Tongan international Mausia Patolo has become the first woman in OFC outside of New Zealand to achieve the OFC Goalkeeping C Licence.

After being given a chance in 2022 through OFC/New Zealand Football to complete the C Licence course, Patolo officially qualified in February this year.

It means Tonga Football Association (TFA) now has two coaches that hold the OFC Goalkeeping C Licence – Soane Faupula, who is the Tonga Goalkeeping Development Officer, is also qualified.

“Very humbled by this achievement and it’s motivated me, encouraging me, to reach out to Oceania females and encourage them to be female goalkeeping coaches,” said Mausia Patolo.

She was a formidable goalkeeper in her playing days, representing the Tongan Senior Women’s national team at 16-years-old, before going on to earn the Golden Gloves award at the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship in 2014.

Now, Patolo is the current goalkeeping coach for the U-16, U-19 and Senior Women’s national teams who recently played at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament – Oceania Qualifier.

OFC Goalkeeping Development Officer James Bannatyne is pleased with the forward strides being made around Oceania, specifically in Tonga.

“The strength of connection with our goalkeeping group is obvious and a good foundation for future development for our ‘keepers and ‘keeper coaches. The care for each other is clear and the goalkeepers we work with will always be a priority,” said Bannatyne.

“The progress of Tongan goalkeepers and the programme is a testament to that. An example being Soane Faupula, translating goalkeeping coach education material into local language to increase effectiveness of course materials.”

Having two qualified goalkeeping coaches at this level is a huge accomplishment for Tonga, with Muasia and Faupula able to provide greater support, from up-and-coming goalkeepers, through to the national teams.

“There has been more developed this time compared to the past, we have more equipment, we have more players coming in to play as goalkeepers,” said Patolo.

“I hope and I plan to have a goalkeeper academy and an academy for each female age group – so, everyone can come in and learn how to be a goalkeeper.”

Improved qualities of OFC goalkeepers and goalkeeper coaches will only assist in ensuring competitive performances of our Member Associations (MAs) at OFC and FIFA tournaments.

At the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament – Oceania Qualifier in Samoa in February, Tonga’s goalkeeper Madison Tenifa received the player of the match award following a brilliant display in her sides 2-1 win against Vanuatu.

“I applaud her for her performance, she did well, this is one of her best performances throughout her goalkeeping career. I am very proud of her for her performance,” said Mausia.

Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

The 19-year-old has shown plenty of promise throughout her performances at club and international level, indicating Tonga is already reaping the benefits.

Goalkeeping is one of, if not the toughest, most unforgiving positions on the football pitch. That’s why Mausia Patolo and Soane Faupula are devoted to helping aspiring Tongan keepers and fostering a positive pathway for aspiring players.

Patolo has already set her sights on achieving that by setting up an academy for female goalkeepers, that she hopes will unearth the next superstar between the sticks.

“I would like to have ten or more goalkeepers. Young goalkeepers, also senior goalkeepers, so they can compete to be the best goalkeepers for all our teams here in Tonga.”