29 Jun 2013

Sport: 'Ikale Tahi team grateful for fan donations

10:21 am on 29 June 2013

Tonga rugby coach Mana Otai says the team was extremely grateful for the support of Tongan fans throughout the world who donated money to the players during the Pacific Nations Cup tournament.

Otai made a plea on Facebook for supporters to donate money to help compensate the 'Ikale Tahi squad, who were not paid any allowances for their time with the team.

He says all the money received went to the players to pay for food and basic expenses on tour.

Mana Otai says the players were told before the tournament that the Rugby Union had no money to pay them an allowance but says he still felt it was his job to ask for help.

"I made the plea not because the players were putting pressure on me - I know that's an obligation on my part as a coach. You know I am under the Rugby Union, I represent the Union while I was with the boys, so I made the plea because there wasn't any. There's nothing to give to the players so what do you do? You ask, and that's just the Tongan way - I wouldn't say the Tongan but that's how we do things."

Mana Otai.