Vanuatu women set sights on final

Competing alongside Papua New Guinea, Samoa and hosts Tonga at Loto-Tonga Centre from March 1 to 7, Vanuatu is the only team making its debut appearance at Olympic level and has missed the last two Pacific Games tournaments in 2007 and 2011.
Yet despite the lack of international experience within the squad, Sam says Vanuatu could spring some surprises.
“I think my team is prepared for the tournament, all the players are really fit and we are okay for injuries,” says Sam, who also works as competitions manager for the Vanuatu Football Federation.
“There are three pool games we have to get through but our focus is on making it through to the final. Then it is one match and anything can happen.”
The last major tournament Vanuatu competed in was the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in 2010 where they were drawn in a tough group alongside Tahiti as well as eventual bronze medallists Cook Islands and champions New Zealand.
Under then-coach Richard Iwai, the team lost all three group matches conceding 20 goals along the way and scoring only one.
Eight players have survived from that squad including captain Elodie Samuel, who is expected to play a pivotal role in midfield.
Sam has otherwise selected a number of up-and-coming players who he hopes will step up at senior level.
“Fino Angelo is only 19 but is one of our best attacking threats so she has a bright future.”
Vanuatu will be up against it in their opening match on Thursday when they square off against hosts Tonga at 1pm local time.
The team will go on to face Samoa and Papua New Guinea respectively before finding out whether they have done enough to go through to the final and have a chance of qualifying for the Stage 2 play-offs against New Zealand.
For the match schedule click here
For the team lists click here

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