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November 2022
Tonga Women Carving New Path for Growing Basketball Nation
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Tonga Women Carving New Path for Growing Basketball Nation

NUKU'ALOFA (Tonga) - Tonga is set to make history this November.

For the first time ever, Tonga’s women’s national basketball team will compete at the FIBA Polynesian Cup.

“Being Tonga’s first women’s team competing at this level, we are watching them all,” said Cahn Fitzgerald, Tonga’s Director of National Teams. “The effort and dedication to training is unmatched, and we’re really excited to see what they can collectively bring to the court.”

After the nation’s men’s team earned a Bronze medal finish at the inaugural 2018 Poly Cup, the women’s squad is geared up for action next month at PunaOra Stadium in Kaitaia, New Zealand.

According to Fitzgerald, the Kingdom has invested “significantly” in its women’s program. The team is first traveling to New Zealand this month for intense training under Head Skills Trainer John Hafoka.

The nation hopes to develop a “pathway for young people in this global sport” and is thrilled to be sending two teams to the upcoming Poly Cup.

“The goal for the Poly Cup is to win,” Fitzgerald said. “We want to put Tonga on the map as basketball greats, and to do this, we need to both win and show we can interact at a highly professional and competitive level. Showing the kids back home that there is a pathway for them through to international competition means we need to think globally and act locally. We need to be progressive in our approach.”

Both Tongan teams, as always, are inspired by a Tongan proverb, “Si’i pe kae ha,” which means “Small but Mighty.”   Follow the Tonga Basketball journey on Facebook.

The top two teams at the Poly Cup will qualify for the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands. The Pacific Games then serve as the official qualifier for the Oceania region to the FIBA Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers.

FIBA - Sam Brief