Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is pleased to announce the inaugural OFC Youth Development Tournament scheduled to take place at Korman Stadium in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 15-24 August.
The U-18 tournament is being organised with UEFA through the UEFA Assist Programme, with the focus not on winning a title, but on the development aspects an international event can provide.
The aim is to positively impact the players, coaches and referees and enhance their performance on and off the field, to provide experience, inspire learning and to improve performance at an international level.
For the first edition of the OFC Youth Development Tournament 2019, six teams have been invited to participate in the cross-Confederation event which will feature not only New Caledonia, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea and host Vanuatu, but also Estonia from Europe and India from Asia.
OFC Chief of Football Development Patrick Jacquemet is looking forward to breaking new ground with the inaugural tournament.
“With age-group tournaments gaining popularity throughout the region, we are excited to be offering exposure and international experiences for players thriving in youth competitions,” he said.
“We want to provide a pathway for these young players to reach their potential on the world stage while also creating a strong regional competition to improve the overall quality of the game in Oceania.”
OFC Director of Competitions Chris Kemp is pleased to see the competition and football development strategies combine to bring this event to fruition.
“The OFC Youth Development Tournament is bridging the gap between our U-16 and U-19 Championships and providing another opportunity for these teams to experience international football,” Kemp said.
“These players will be in their prime for the FIFA World Cup™ 2026, where OFC has the opportunity to be represented by two teams for the first time, so preparations start must start now.”
The format of the competition will see each team play at least two games as part of the group stage, including one match against a European or Asian team.
The OFC Youth Development Tournament is the first of its kind in Oceania, and follows the participation of Fiji and Solomon Islands U-17 teams in similar competitions in Europe earlier this year.
There are also plans to host an OFC Youth Development Tournament for girls in early 2020.