Stade Pater is proving a happy hunting ground for Erakor Golden Star’s Tony Kaltack with the ni-Vanuatu striker notching his sixth goal in four OFC Champions League matches at the picturesque Papeete venue.
Kaltack was prolific in last year’s group stage in Papeete, scoring in all three of Erakor’s games – a 2-4 loss to AS Tefana, a 2-1 win over Marist and a 1-2 defeat to Rewa. In fact, Kaltack netted all five of his team’s goals during the campaign proving his significance to the side’s hopes.
On Sunday, the 21-year-old picked up on where he left off, lashing in Erakor’s second goal midway through the second half in the 2-0 win over Solomon Warriors. And while Kaltack will be pleased to see a teammates name on the scoresheet – a pinpoint Barry Mansale strike opened the scoring a minute earlier – he played a role in that too, earning the free-kick just outside the area.
It may appear to be a case of normal service resumed bit Erakor coach Obed Jimmy revealed the star striker was in doubt in the lead-in to the Group B clash due to a hamstring strain but went on to underscore just our important Kaltack is to his side’s hopes to reach the quarterfinals.
“He’s been injured recently but we’ve given him a rest for two weeks to get him right for this tournament. He hasn’t trained with us and hasn’t been on the pitch until we named in in the 11 for the match,” Jimmy said.
“He one of those players who you feel can score from anywhere on the field. Long range or in close he’s just as good. And anytime he scores we’ve got a chance.”
While the exploits of the Erakor born-and-raised player have been earning a name for himself, the Kaltack name is almost synonymous with football in the Melanesian nation.
Tony’s father, Ivoki played for the national team, while Tony’s respective older and younger brothers Jean and Kalfter play alongside him for Erakor, with Jean also a senior international. Their cousin, Brian Kaltack, will line up for Fijian side Lautoka FC when Group C kicks off in Auckland in late February.
Tony Kaltack’s form also earned him an international call-up in March 2016, scoring on debut in a 1-0 friendly against New Caledonia, while he added five more goals to his burgeoning tally during Vanuatu’s gold medal-winning run at last year’s Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila.
For all his importance to Erakor’s chances on the field, away from the pitch Kaltack prefers to deflect attention and instead talk in terms of the team as a whole, although he did note the size of the Stade Pater pitch allowed him more freedom to work with.
“I belief in myself and I believe in our squad to perform in this tournament. I trust in our players and we have confidence in ourselves to perform in our next game,” he said.
Kaltack gets the chance to continue his scoring run and help Erakor Golden Star edge closer to a place in the OFC Champions League quarterfinals when they take on AS Dragon on Wednesday night (Tahiti time).