A fundraising appeal to send Mate Ma’a Tonga players back to where they stay in Australia has raised more than $13,000 in just two hours, and its organiser President Semisi Sika hopes to receive more.
Sika described the fundraising as ‘organised by an independent body’ and they were targeting to raise $10,000.
Agreeing with few Tongan fans to invite the MMT players to come to Tonga and to celebrate their performance at the RLW Cup 2013, Sika invited the team with promise that Tonga would pay for their return tickets.
The story of the day concluded with a surprise made when Sika met the players at their Nuku’alofa Hotel yesterday and gave each member a $500 pocket money.
“I could see the smiles on their faces,” Sika emotionally told Kaniva News.
Sika said he set aside the $5000 for the players pocket money after the fundraising to make sure they could financially look after themselves while they are in the kingdom before their return next week.
He said he now has $8000 cash in hand for the players airfare and he would process the payment for their return tickets today.
Only 10 players who made it to Tonga after the national team joint the RLW Cup 2013 included Fuifui Moimoi, Siosaia Vave, Jason Taumalolo, Peni Terepo, Ukuma Ta’ai, Daniel Foster and Konrad Hurrell with coach Charles Tonga.
The fundraising was attended by Prince Tupouto'a who is also the Patron of the MMT and Princess Sinaitakala as well as the Democratic Party Leader 'Akilisi Pohiva and MP Sunia Fili.