by Mele Hifo Finau, San Francisco, USA
After beating Japan 27-17 in their PNC 2013 opening match last week, Tonga National Rugby Team were welcomed by friends, families and fans when they arrived this Sunday in the United States ahead of their second PNC rugby match against Canada.
Ikale-Tahi team uses San Francisco Golden Gate Club ‘s field and facilities for training, which is located at Treasure Island. The weather in the Treasure Island is always windy and cold, something team members only learn when arrived in San Francisco.
However they have been showered with tracksuits for training and some families went the extra mile to buy suitable clothing to compensate the unusual weather of the Treasure Island, by buying more than one pair for their members at Ikale Tahi.
Donations came as far as Seatle, Washington, some Mo’unga’one families of Tukulua and Sila Puafisi also donated money $500 to buy new tracksuits for the boys and some of their team mates.
It is quite a blessing that goes both ways, a chance for families, friends and fans to show love and kindness. It is a gesture that brings together Tongans who live in the Bay Area.
The team stays at Crowne Plaza, Foster City and it has been a very popular and common meeting place for those who wished to show love and support for Ikale Tahi. Uncountable volunteers have mounted as words started to spread of Ikale Tahi’s arrival in San Francisco.
Tonga USA Sports Federation has been Ikale Tahi’s working partner and point of contact in the US.
It’s president, Mosese Similai, Consultant, Siua Tameifuna and rest of the Committee members have worked endlessly to accommodate all the needs and requests made from Management Team of Ikale Tahi.
The team will spend 11 days in the Bay before flying out to Canada for their next game for the Pacific Nations Cup Tournament.
They will leave on June 4 and return to Los Angeles on June 9 to play against USA Men’s Eagles.
Mele Hifo Finau is Radio Vake Tali Folau’s CEO