VFF technical director Charles Vatu handed over the balls – worth over VUV 50,000 – to Action For Health representative Graham Tabi and they will be used in tournaments run by the programme.
Vatu says the donation was made possible through the support of VFF sponsors and partners, such as OFC and FIFA.
“We are very happy to support the Ministry of Health in Vanuatu to fight for all our young people’s health,” Vatu says.
“Through football they can be fit and forget all about drugs and alcohol. Life is short and it is our responsibility to help our youth grow up in a healthy environment to help Vanuatu be a healthy nation.”
Action For Health is currently running a tournament in Luganville, Santo and it has been a big success.
“Last year, we had 32 clubs participating and the numbers have increased this year to 93,” Tabi says. “We are very happy to see that young people are playing football for their health and forgetting about drugs and alcohol.”
The first Action For Health tournament was held in Port Vila five years ago with the theme ‘Play and Celebrate Free’ and Tabi is delighted to see the expansion into Santo going so well.
“There’s a lot of evidence to show that young people will listen to messages from other young people but that messages created by adults for young people are often ignored,” he says.
“Football matches can generate large crowds of youth, which are great awareness-raising opportunities for our young people. So far, the project has been used to bring the young people together but now you can see what good role models these football players are becoming after we organised the first programme in 2005.”
Some of those players are now lining up for local clubs Yatel and Spirit 08 and Tabi is proud to see their football careers developing.
“We are very happy to see the fruit of what we have been doing for the health of our young people in Vanuatu,” he says. “They are strong and healthy and I am sure that one day they will represent their country in an OFC or FIFA tournament.”
For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu