Solomone Kata quits MMT after reports interim board fired coach Kristian Woolf; players and supporters outraged

    Fakahā 'e Solomone Kata 'ene mālōlō 'ana mei he Mate Ma'a Tonga mo 'ene mamahi he Kōmiti Liiki Fakataimi 'i he ngaahi palopalema kuo 'ohake' kae tautefito ki he lipooti 'o pehē kuo tuli e faiako'. 'Oku 'i ai mo e ngaahi me'a kehe kau ai 'a e pa'anga 'oku pehē na'e loto e fānau va'inga ke tuku pe ko e siofaki e kaha'u 'o e ngaahi tau 'a e MMT ka kuo ngāue'aki ia ki he ngaahi me'a 'oku 'ikai ke nau fiemālie ki ai. Ko e pa'anga ko 'eni 'i he fakamatala kuo 'omai ki he Kaniva' 'oku pehē ko e pa'anga ia ne tonu ke vahe ki he fānau ka na'a nau loto ke fakahū pangikē pe ko ha malu'i 'o e ngaahi feinga tau he kaha'u. 'Oku pehē mei he poate fakataimi' ne ngāue'aki pe pa'anga ni ki he me'a ma'a e Mate Ma'a Tonga'

    Mate Ma’a Tonga centre Solomone Kata has quit the national team and expressed his disappointment after reports the interim league board has fired head coach Kristian Woolf.

     “We have heard that the head coach would be changed but we did not believe it,” Kata said.

    “But I have just spoken with the coach and he told me he had received an e-mail from the Tonga National League Board today saying he was sacked,” Kata said in Tongan.

    Kata asked the Board on Facebook whether they had dismissed the coach ”because of his honesty”

    Kata said Woolf had worked hard since 2013 and when the MMT was not widely popular and now “you sacked him.”

    He then said in Tongan: “Kae kehe kou tatau atu au ki he Lanu hinehina moe kulokula ! Ofa lahi atu ki he Tonga kotoa pe !”

    This translates into English as: “However, I am saying good bye to the white and red colour. Lot of love to all Tongans.”

    Kaniva news has been reliably informed this evening the interim board announced it had sacked Woolf.

    Former professional rugby league footballer John Hopoate, whose son Will Hopoate was Mate Ma’as’s fullback, lashed out at the interim board on Facebook, saying he had just spoken with the players who had written a letter to the board.

    “If this interim board think they can come in and do this after all the hard work we have done to get the players to play for Tonga and to stay loyal to us they got another thing coming,” John Hopoate wrote on his Facebook page.

    He did not give the details of the letter, but various sources claimed the players gave the interim board 10 days to come up with a solution before they all pulled out.

    He accused the board of wanting to take control of the team’s money and finances for their own benefit.

    “They have sacked the coach and will try get rid of the staff too,” John wrote on his Facebook page.

    It is understood Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo were working hand in hand on another move to address the issue after Fifita complained to Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva that he and the players were dissatisfied with the board.

    The interim board could not be reached for comment. However, reliable sources said the board believed that if the current Mate Ma’a players pulled out there were other players who were willing to represent Tonga.

    The report of Woolf’s dismissal has been met with outrage online, with many people calling on the interim board members to leave the organisation and demanding that the new board member election to be called immediately.

    As Kaniva news reported this week, the players threatened to pull out of any further involvement with Mate Ma’a Tonga if their complaints were not resolved.

    The board was accused of breaching agreement with the players in their first meeting.

    The reported sacking of the head coach came after prop Fifita warned last month that the board appeared to have plans to change him for the World Cup Nines 2019 next month, something the board denied.

    The players were unhappy with the interim general secretary, lawyer Williams Clive Edwards Jnr, and interim Chair Siaosi Koloamatangi and Fifita has told the Prime Minister they wanted these two members removed from the interim board.

    Fifita said they were disappointed after they had found out that $55,000 had been withdrawn from a Tonga rugby league bank account in Australia by the board members and they were dissatisfied with how the money was used.

    It has been claimed that the  money was actually part of a gift from the World Cup for the Mate Ma’a Tonga and was supposed to be paid out to players. The players wanted to keep the money in the bank as security for future games.

    The main points

    • Mate Ma’a Tonga centre Solomone Kata has quit the national team and expressed his disappointment after reports the interim league board has fired head coach Kristian Woolf.
    • “We have heard that the head coach would be changed but we did not believe it,” Kata said.
    • “But I have just spoken with the coach and he told me he had received an e-mail from the Tonga National League Board today saying he was sacked,” Kata said in Tongan.

    For more information

    Videos recorded while prop Andrew Fifita complaint to PM Pōhiva against interim board members released to Kaniva news

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