***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 4 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Tonga, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
Nickname: Timi Fakafomua (The National Team)
FIFA Ranking: 198 (June 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Forced to withdraw from Oceania World Cup qualification tournament
Although the tiny island nation of Tonga has never reached the final stage of World Cup qualifying, it had to withdraw from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup due to the effects of the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai eruption and tsunami, without any real hopes of ever reaching a World Cup finals, who cares, because Pita Taufatofua.
As far as sports and Tonga goes, the only thing that matters is Pita Taufatofua.
If you though this guy was just the hot-as-shit, oiled-down hunk who was Tonga’s flag bearer at three Olympic Games and nothing else, you’ve got another thing coming. Sure, he is a hot-as-shit, three-time, multi-sport Olympian shredded beefcake but that’s not even close to the most impressive thing about him. The dude is incredible.
Born in Australia, Taufatofua started practicing Taekwondo at age five, almost qualified for the 2012 Olympics with a broken leg, went to Korea to train, slept under a table in a school there for 6 months during qualification, and eventually, at his third go at it, qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics as Oceania’s best in Taekwondo, where he finished 11th in the 80+kg category. Then because, why the hell not, he decided to drop taekwondo and give a sport that he’s never ever tried before a go (cross country skiing) and set out to try qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Yep. Fucking legend.
To qualify, he had to compete in every qualifying event and be Oceania’s best (even though he’s from a place that has never witnessed even half a flake of snow). He travelled to every competition across Europe in the qualifying series, racking up $40,000 in credit card debt, went on eight-hour taxi rides through Armenia, missed flights, got stranded in Norway, ski companies implored him not to wear their gear, one of his skis fell off in Poland and he had to dig around in the woods for it (it took so long to find that race officials were turning off the lights when he came in), and this was all while using just one pair of skis (the Norwegian team has 40 each). End result? He did it, of course, and qualified for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, becoming Tonga’s only athlete at the Games. Sick cunt.
I’m not done yet, either. After competing in the 2018 Games, he then decided to give another new sport a crack. Taufatofua switched to sprint canoeing, as a tribute to his ancestors who came to Tonga in similar fashion in the first place, and also just because he’s Pita fucking Taufatofua: Tongan god. Disappointingly, his attempt to qualify for the Olympics fell just short in the qualifiers, but even when he was facing the wrong way in his heat in Hungary, he still managed a PB.
Shaking off the blow in canoeing, Taufatofua reprised his role as #1 Superstar of the Olympics when he once again qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in taekwondo instead, once again competing in the Men’s 80+kg repechage. In the event, he was comprehensively defeated in the first round by some Slovenian who was not worthy to share the dojang with him. But all that matters little, for alas, you and I have been blessed. We have been blessed to be alive at the same time, in the same era, to exist upon the same planet that Pita Taufatofua graces, and we bear witness to His exalted glory.
One to watch: Pita Taufatofua who else
After two Summer and one Winter Games, Pita Taufatofua’s Olympic career appears to be over. But who knows with this guy. First it was taekwondo, then cross country skiing even though he’d never done it before, then sprint canoeing because that’s what his ancestors did, then back to taekwondo. What’s he gonna do next? Fishing? Cricket? One more crack at cross country skiing? Whatever it is, you know it’s gonna be good, and you know he’s gonna dominate in the Pita Taufatofua way (ie. being kind of shit, but still being THE ABSOLUTE SHIT).
The Highpoint: Beating those pricks Samoa
Not everyone can beat the Samoa national team (American Samoa are the only ones that can’t), but Tonga can proudly say that they can and have. TWICE (out of 11 attempts). So next time you’re taking cheap shots at the Tonga national team, saying that they suck worse than non-FIFA affiliated Kiribati, or Walis & Futuna (half-true–the head-to-head’s split 1-1) or Tuvalu (totally true–Tonga’s lost both outings between the two), just stop and keep this in mind: at least Tonga are better than Samoa (well on two ocassions they have been–they’re worse than them overall), and it’s just as well they aren’t no American Samoa.
Hahaha American Samoa. What a bunch of assholes, am I right?
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
Hopefully, if the environment can just chill out a bit and stop being such a cunt