A group of 21 women came together to train as they begin preparations to eventually go on to represent Vanuatu at the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) has started the Centre of Excellence, which caters for girls aged under 17 years old in Port Vila, which is where the 21 girls will come together to train every week.
Centre of Excellence head coach Tom McDonald says the centre has a number of objectives it hopes to achieve.
“The main objective is to prepare players to represent Vanuatu at the U- 17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers in 2014, but it’s also to provide the more talented players with a pathway and the opportunity to be noticed by other organisations.
“If we could develop a player well enough to play for a university team in America, New Zealand or Australia that would be fantastic for the development of women’s football in Vanuatu”.
The Centre of Excellence has places for 25 players, 16 of whom will be selected to participate in the Senior Women’s Port Vila competition, representing the National Academy team every Saturday.
In September this year the centre will send 17 to 18 players on a tour to Avalon in Sydney, Australia to spread the word that women’s football in Vanuatu is developing strongly, and to gain valuable overseas experience.
However, the centre’s coaching staff does not believe in providing hand-outs to its players, expecting each of them to work hard to fundraise money for this tour.
“We are educating players not only about football, but also on how to live their lives. Therefore, the players must learn that if they want something, they must work hard for it,” VFF women’s development officer and Centre of Excellence assistant coach Rorona Kalsakau says.
The long term sustainability of the centre is another priority of VFF and centre staff who believe it will only continue to boost the level, and profile, of women’s football in Vanuatu.
“This Centre must continue to run even after the qualifiers for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and that will be a huge challenge for us,” McDonald says.
“But for the moment we are focused on representing Vanuatu to the best of our abilities”.
For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu