Fresh faces for friendlies

Daniel Michel (Shepherds United), Meren Tambe (Siaraga Santo), Kensi Tangis (Milo FC Santo), Robert Tasso (Spirit 08), Rodney Serveux (Tupuji Imere) and Eddison Stephen (Academy) will all make their international debuts during the matches, which have been arranged to help both sides prepare for the upcoming Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
Midfielder Stephen, who will blow out the candles on his 18th birthday cake soon, starred for his country as Vanuatu finished third at the OFC U-20 Championship in April and is delighted to have made the step up to the senior squad.
“I am very proud to represent my country, even though some of our senior stars will not be with us in the Solomons,” Stephen says.
“But I would like to make it clear that I am not the focus of attention in this team. I am just another player who wants to start a new history for this team. It is the beginning of a new era for all of us to wear the Vanuatu jersey.”
Many experienced campaigners have been left out of the squad by coach Saby Natonga for various reasons, the survivors including the likes of Amicale pair Robert Yelou and Seimata Chillia.
Fellow Amicale duo Fenedy Masauvakalo and Derek Malas are both missing from the list, as are Tafea trio Francois Sakama, Fredy Vava and Daniel Natou.
But newcomer Stephen remains confident of a good showing against Solomon Islands and believes the matches will be an important part of Vanuatu’s preparations for the Pacific Games.
“We hope to do our best against one of the best teams in Oceania. The new players in the team are ready to play and, whatever the result, we will come back to train hard for the Games.”
The two sides will meet each other on July 7 and 9 at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara while a pair of return matches have also been arranged to take place in Port Vila on July 27 and 30.
For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu

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