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VANUATU – OFC BACK FUTSAL TOURNAMENT INITIATIVE

The Government of Vanuatu, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), together with the Vanuatu Football Federation and the European Commission, have agreed to the organisation of a national football championship for primary school students in year 5 and 6.

All partners have agreed to use football as a vehicle for addressing education issues in the country. OFC President Reynald Temarii said the programme was essential to help children in Vanuatu gain an education, a country where only 70% of children attend primary school.

OFC Ambassador Christian Karembeu was on hand to help bring the Futsal dream to come true. The former France international said the trip to Vanuatu was an amazing experience.

“When we arrived in Vanuatu we were treated like Kings, it was a great experience. But after that, we worked hard every day to try and make the dream of using futsal to help education in the country work. It was a very tough schedule but worthwhile”, Karembeu said.

OFC President Reynald Temarii said using football as a vehicle to implement the Vanuatu education strategy was a key element to reaching out children amongst the 62 islands in Vanuatu.

“Each team will be made up of 5 players – 4 will be boys, 1 will be a girl. This is in line with the EU’s desire to promote female participation in sport and education. Once a champion team is found from each island we will play a provincial tournament with the final being played on November 20th 2007 – Universal Children’s Day.”

Temarii said the two finalists would then combine to make one team that would play at the 2008 OFC U12 Festival of Football in Noumea, New Caledonia, and for a qualifying spot at the Danone Cup in France.

The cost of setting up the Vanuatu Futsal National Tournament would be split three ways between OFC, VFF, and the European Union.

“The VFF expressed a wish to adopt the French technical system. We wanted to listen to the people of Vanuatu and hear their needs and so have appointed the technical responsibilities to John Crawford and James Doyen.”

Both men have had an extensive association with French World Cup winning coach Aime Jacquet.

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