With the support of the International Cricket Council Development Program, the Tonga Cricket Association today announced that Sione Holi had been appointed as the first ever long-term full-time Development Officer employed by the TCA.
Holi, 26, has represented the national senior team at both the 2001 ICC Pacifica Cricket Championships in Auckland and the same event in Samoa in 2002. Tonga was the highest placed ICC Affiliate member at both Championships. Holi’s role will involve daily activities in primary and secondary schools such as promotional clinics and teacher training. It is envisaged he will also be integral to the organisation and expansion of the TCA’s senior competitions and establishment of new junior leagues.
TCA President, Siale Puloka, said, “we are delighted to have secured funding from the ICC to be able to take our junior cricket development initiatives to schools on a full-time basis. Our two month trial last summer period showed what a difference such a role can make to the profile and development of the sport at all levels and it is great that we now have the opportunity to engage Sione’s services for a full season up until the end of March 2003 and, if successful, possibly beyond.”
Said Holi, “I am thrilled to accept the position and look forward to the challenge. Tonga has much cricketing potential with good talent and a keen enthusiasm and I am delighted to be part of a program which will provide increased opportunities for boys and girls to play this great game here.”
International Cricket Council East Asia – Pacific Development Manager, Matthew Kennedy, said, “the ICC sees this appointment by the TCA as an early and important step of the many required in the desired path for Tonga to progress from being an Affiliate member to an Associate member of the ICC in the medium-term future. Whilst Tonga has been comparatively successful in regards to national team performance in elite competition in the Pacific, other countries in the region are further advanced in terms of all important attention to junior development systems and structures. ICC is confident this situation will now improve which is fantastic and congratulates the Tonga Cricket Association on its initiative. We will certainly do all we can through our Development Program and the established partnership between Tonga & the Canterbury Cricket Association in New Zealand to provide meaningful support, training and advice to Sione in his endeavours.”
“However, it is obvious that one Development Officer employee can’t do it alone and the TCA needs to generate the complete means to become a professionally managed and pro-active sporting body. The key to any successful emerging cricket nation is its volunteer base whether it be administrators, coaches, umpires, scorers or parents helping out at a kids carnival. With so many on-going activities, ranging from national team issues to junior development initiatives to working with its local member Associations and Clubs, for Tongan cricket to maximise its progression it needs a large and hard working off-field team,” Kennedy added.
In commenting further on the development of cricket in Tonga, Kennedy praised the achievements of the TCA since its ICC membership approval just over two ago and identified key future priority areas such as;
This is currently a very busy and exciting time for cricket in Tonga which is not limited to but includes;
Kennedy added, “as evident by all of this, the ICC has and will continue to provide great support to Tonga cricket’s endeavours. The real key however is for our member countries to obtain meaningful funding and other support mechanisms independent of the ICC’s set resources for all its global development initiatives. For example, if this occurred in this country, major projects of benefit such as ground developments could be realistically explored.”
“Whilst there is much work to be done, it is great that this appointment places the TCA in the best position it has ever been to ‘make a difference’ at the grass roots level and we will continue to assist however possible. The proven successful formula is to create an interest and profile for the game through schools and junior clinics which then leads to a demand for, and need to, organise formal junior leagues. From such a model, meaningful underage devolvement programs can then be built which is very advantageous for the long-term good of the sport,” Kennedy concluded.
The full-time Development Officer, Sione Holi, will commence his role on Monday 2 September and will operate out of the offices of the National Training Centre where the TCA President, Siale Puloka, is based. They are both contactable for more information on Tel. +676 25 888, Fax +676 23 671, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: ICC Media Release