A Tongan rugby coach has made a heartfelt plea for two teenage players who vanished on a tour of Australia to return home.
The boys, both aged just 18, decided to stay in Australia, rather than return to their home country of Tonga following an overseas team trip.
Coach Will Hafu said he was shocked to discover that the two boys, Sione Lolo, and Sione Osika, were part of his sevens rugby team.
‘Tonga U18s have returned from Australia with two less players…. To my shock its two of my 7s boys, both extremely talented and great kids,’ Mr Hafu said in a Facebook post.
‘They have bright futures and [can do] much more than running from immigration for the rest of their lives.’
He went on to state that whoever is keeping them hidden Australia has ‘no regard to their future or their families’ and are not helping them in any way.
‘These two have both worked too hard all year to throw it all away, in what they might be regretting now.’
He went on to address the two boys directly; ‘If you are reading this boys…. Foki mai ki api. ta mai, message mai. ofa atu fanga tokoua.’
Tonga is a country made up of 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited.
Mr Hafu’s plea comes just months after over 19 athletes from different African countries went missing after the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Five of them were later discovered seeking asylum in Canberra.