Soccer gear worth AUD $20,000 was presented to Tonga, on February 8, by the Government of Israel through the Regan Milstein Foundation based in Australia, and received by Paula Ma’u, Vice President of the Tonga Football Association.
At a special occasion attended by HRH Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka, at the Tonga Football Association headquarters in Veitongo, football boots, t-shirts and balls were presented by the Regan Milstein Foundation CEO, Kevin Milstein, to the Minister of Training, Employment, Youth and Sports, Hon Fe’ao Vakata.
Kevin hoped that his presentation would change children’s lives through soccer in Tonga.
The Foundation, was founded to help disadvantaged kids to get involved in sport, in the memory of his sports-loving teenage son, Regan, who died while scuba diving in 2010. He said that his son loved soccer and giving to others so they set up the foundation based in Melbourne.
Israel’s Ambassador to Tonga, HE Mr Shemi Tzur, visiting from Wellington, New Zealand, said the soccer gears was not only a donation to Tonga but also in honor of young Regan’s memory.
“The foundation bear Regan’s name and assists in an area that was close to his heart and a pillar of his life, which was football. I hope that the young Tongan athletes will excel in football not only in honor Regan’s memory but glorify Tonga in football,” he said.
Hon Fe’ao Vakata said the donation was significant because 50 percent of Tonga’s population under 21 years old, and like other Pacific islands suffers from youth unemployment and youth crime, and with non communicable diseases a big health problem due to unhealthy lifestyle and lack of physical activities.
The Ministry of Sports was encouraging more youths to get involved in sports, and the donation of soccer gear would develop skills for young footballers, he said.
Attending the event were Tonga’s Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano, Israel’s Ambassador to Australia HE Mr Yuval Rotem, and the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga HE Mr Thomas Roth.