But the meeting between Amicale and Koloale could well be a near all-Solomon affair as the home side can field almost an entire starting line-up of Solomon Islanders to face their countrymen.
Port Vila-based Amicale have 10 Solomon imports in their squad and at least half of these are sure to play a role against Koloale.
Nelson Sale Kilifa, Joachim Waroi, Gibson Daudau, Alick Maemae and Jack Wetney all started Amicale’s opening match of this season’s O-League – a 1-1 draw against Papua New Guinea side Hekari United – while yet another Solomon Islander, striker Joe Luwi, came on as a second-half substitute.
The blending of locally-produced Vanuatu talent with Solomon flair paid off handsomely last term for coach Luke Eroi as the Reds made it all the way to the final and were only denied the title by a well-organised Auckland City outfit.
In contrast, Koloale officials have resisted the urge to bolster their squad with foreign arrivals and coach Jeffery Allen has an entirely homegrown squad to work with.
The majority of the 22 players that run out onto the PVL Stadium pitch on Saturday will therefore be Solomon Islanders but both teams will be looking to put aside national allegiances as they look to secure their first O-League win of the season.
Koloale began their campaign with a 4-1 defeat to defending champions Auckland City in Honiara but many observers felt the scoreline flattered the Kiwis and Amicale president Jean Yves Chabod says his players must not take the visitors lightly.
“Koloale have some very good Solomon Islands players,” he says. “We want to do the same as we did against them last year when we won 2-0 at home. But last year is gone and this will be a different game.”
The Amicale camp is disappointed not to be on three points already after giving up what looked a certain victory against Hekari at the death.
The hosts had gone ahead on the stroke of halftime through talismanic striker Fenedy Masauvakalo and it looked like that effort would be enough to secure a first-up win as the final whistle approached.
But Hekari’s Kema Jack had other ideas and found the net with one of the last kicks of the game to earn a share of the spoils.
Coach Eroi was frustrated at his side’s failure to secure the points and would like to see an improvement on Saturday.
“I wasn’t happy with the performance because it was not what I expected,” he says. “It was a totally different game to what I wanted. We had quite a few chances but Hekari dominated the second half.”
Key players Masauvakalo, Waroi and Maemae have all struggled with injuries in recent weeks but should be fit to face Koloale while Rexley Tarivuti is likely to return at right back in place of Young Paul after being rested for the domestic match against Tupuji Imere. Amicale won that game in impressive fashion, Maemae and Masauvakalo both scoring twice to supplement a Waroi hat-trick in the 7-0 win.
The trio’s goalscoring return to action will have done much to banish any doubts about their injury recoveries and the only other fitness concern for Eroi is defender Alphonse Bongnaim, likely to start on the bench due to his niggle.
Amicale will also be without the services of skilful striker Wetney, who has not trained regularly with the club since returning to his native Solomon Islands after the opening day draw with Hekari.
“We can always be better and will have to be,” Chabod says. “We have learned our lessons from our first game and don’t have anything to lose in this match.”
2012 O-League Match Day 2
Amicale [VAN] vs. Koloale [SOL]
Saturday 19 November
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Local kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Nick WALDRON [NZL]
Assistant referee 1: Mahit CHILIA [VAN]
Assistant referee 2: Alick LUKAI [VAN]
Fourth official: Robinson BANGA [VAN]
Amicale: 1. Enest BONG [GK], 2. Rexley TARIVUTI, 3. Young PAUL, 4. Selwyn SESE ALA, 5. Richard ANISUA, 6. Nelson Sale KILIFA, 7. Jean-Robert YELOU, 9. Dereck MALAS, 10. Joachim WAROI, 11. Fenedy MASAUVAKALO, 13. Gibson DAUDAU, 14. Moffat DERAMOA, 15. Alphonse BONGNAIM, 17. Joe LUWI, 19. Johnney TIRAENG, 21. Kensi TANGIS, 26. Alick MAEMAE, 33. Joel NAKAPUE [GK]
Coach: Luke EROI
Koloale: 20. Shadrack RAMONI [GK], 2. Isreal KOTE FANAI, 3. Freddie KINI, 4. Cecil BURU, 5. Samson TAKAYAMA, 9. Benjamin TOTORI, 11. Ian PAIA, 13. Lency SAENI, 15. Mostyn BEUI, 16. James NAKA, 18. Henry FA’ARODO, 19. Joses NAWO, 21. David LAFAI, 24. Willy DAUDAU, 25. Francis LAFAI, 26. Molis GAGAME
Coach: Peter EKE