Photo Credit: OFC Media via Christophe Fotozz

A few days ago few people outside of the Kingdom of Tonga would have thought a semi-final place was on the cards for the country’s U-16 women’s team at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Tahiti.

But Wednesday’s opening 5-1 win over the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia and Tahiti’s goalless draw in Group A mean that’s exactly the scenario should Lafaele Moala’s side upset New Caledonia in their second Group A match on Saturday (Sunday NZT).

15-year-old Tamaa Faletau turned in a stunning individual performance, scoring all her side’s goals in the opening win and Moala knows she will be heavily marked by the New Caledonians.

OFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2023, Group A, Tonga vs Solomon Islands, Pater Stadium, Pirae, Tahiti, Wednesday september 13 2023, Tamaa FALETAU from Tonga, Player of the match, photo : Christophe Fotozz, Tahiti

“ I think we are ready, and we are still concentrating on what our weaknesses were from the first game. New Caledonia is a good team too and we will try and show what we can do,” Moala said.

“I think there is confidence in the girls now, I want them to maintain that standard and I know the girls have the potential to play against a better team.” The coach added.

And there is plenty of motivation for Tonga to win.

“The mentality of the team is they are looking forward to it. We don’t believe in Magic but it’s about hard work and dedication and the girls will do their best.”

The second Group A match pits the Solomon Islands against hosts Tahiti and anything less than three points for Patrick Miniti’s Solomons side will leave them all but mathematically out of semi-final contention.