Taking a holistic approach to improving football in the nation, Tonga Football Association held a FIFA MA Refereeing Course last week to upskill and refresh local referees on the Laws of the Game.
FIFA Instructor Subkhiddin M. Salleh led 26 local referees from Vavau Island and Tongatapu through the five day course held at the Home of Football in Loto-Tonga.
In his opening speech for the course, Salleh explained that the objective of the course was to help the local referees build confidence.
‘’I am here to keep on encouraging every referee on this course as I believe they are really good quality,” he said.
“During FIFA tournaments we noticed referees outside of Europe were really quiet, they felt they were behind from referees from UEFA, and we need to take this idea away from referees,’’ he added.
Salleh spoke highly of Tevita Makasini in his opening, who has contributed to OFC and FIFA competitions and the recent Rio Olympic Games as an assistant referee. Salleh felt confident that Makasini’s participation in the course would help bring forward other referees from Tonga.
‘’I am happy that Tevita is one of the participants, as he has been one of the top assistant referees throughout FIFA tournaments. He is a great role model for me to use as an example,’’ he said.
TFA Head of Referees Tevita Vea was very pleased to have Salleh give his time to the development of Tonga football and is confident the course will be beneficial for the future of refereeing in the country.
‘’The consistency and continuation of this refereeing development programme will contribute to the advancement of the Tonga match officials’ aptitudes and to the quality of their performances.
‘’Tonga FA Referee Instructors will also benefit from this course as they are required to play a major role and be actively involved during the course,’’ he said.
‘’All coaches and players are expecting high quality officiating and this can only be achieved with quality training and development such as FIFA MA Refereeing courses.”
Vea believes that the challenge now is to maintain and build up a well-trained, highly qualified body of referees to support and enhance the delivery of the game.
TFA President Lord Veéhala was also present at the opening ceremony as Guest of Honour. In his speech, he emphasised how important the role of a referee is, offered his best wishes to all participants and urged them to learn as much as they could from Salleh’s expertise.
The FIFA MA course will conclude on 26 October after all participants have taken part in a fitness test.
For more on Tonga football go to www.tongafootball.to