The development of women’s football in Tahiti is set to continue under the watchful eye of the newly appointed FTF Women’s Football Project Manager Stéphanie Spielmann.
The Championnat Vahine was launched last season and continues to play a role in providing opportunities for the nation’s female footballers, but that’s not the only thing on offer.
An U-16 competition has been successful and for young women aged 6-12 years old, so has the Live Your Goals programme.
Spielmann’s role will see her try and promote football as a sporting option for young girls through events dedicated to them, such as the Live Your Goals festival the most recent of which was held in late November.
France having qualified for the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 3 December has also helped to give renewed life to the female game in French Polynesia.
“Women’s football was neglected for four or five years,” Spielmann said.
“We’re trying to revitalise it, notably with the establishment of a women’s football commission within the federation, with former players involved. We haev created a group which we beleive can find the best pathways to revitalise and develop the women’s game.”
Spielmann said the development pathway begins with the Live Your Goals programme before offering leagues and matches for older players.
“For U-16s we have the Tamahine Championship, and for seniors the Vahine league. We also have some ideas for expanding that competition as in 2018 we need to put together a national U-17 side.
“We need to work on this, and that’s just one of our projects. The idea is also to create U-7 and U-9 teams for girls, and we want clubs to start opening their doors to registered women’s players.”
The future of women’s football in Tahiti is looking bright according to Jane Mahiatapu, president of the FTF Women’s Football Commission, based on the strength of the local championship.
“The Vahine Championship officially started five weeks ago, for the second consecutive year, and will conclude in March with the home-and-away phase,” Mahiatapu explained.
“We have around 200 registered women’s players in Polynesia, divided into 14 teams – nine senior teams with players aged between 16 and 35, and five U-16 teams with players aged 13-15 years old.
“Getting the competition underway wasn’t easy at first, it took time to get all the administrative and logistical elements in place. But thanks to everyone’s contribution, and in particular the FTF competitions department, we’re getting there.
“And certainly in respect to participation, it’s not a problem in fact it’s very positive,” Mahiatapu concluded.
For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf