Lolo A Halaevalu Cup in Tonga back after 15 year hiatus

Neiafu in Vavaú has been abuzz with all things football this week as it hosts the return of the Lolo Á Halaevalu Cup Championship after a 15 year break.

Nippon Field is playing host to eight teams - four men's and four women's - from Tongatapu and Vavaú.

Tonga Football Association competitions manager Penateti Feke said bringing the competition back is a major step forward for Tonga football development.

"The current status of Tonga football in the FIFA rankings is descending and the previous results from OFC tournaments have not been great," she said.

"TFA concluded that our players have the talent but lack the opportunities to play quality games. Therefore we brought back this tournament as our local domestic tournament and the best players from combined clubs are selected to represent their districts.

"If the tournament is a success our technical department is looking forward to it becoming a permanent pathway for our players from club to island districts and then on to national teams."

Taking the week-long event to Vavaú is part of TFA's strategic efforts to decentralise football, something Vavaú football manager Manatu Liavaá welcomed.

"Hosting a big event like this is very exciting for our community and such an honour.

"It is rare to host an event like this here in Vavaú but I feel very passionate about it and would like to persuade more people and youth to support it, and get involved in football," Liavaá said.