Photo Credit: Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF)

Tournament co-hosts Vanuatu prepare for the OFC Men’s Nations Cup 2024 with a new Coach and a renewed sense of optimism as they look to make home advantage count later this month.

Former Solomon Islands Futsal Coach Juliano Schmeling will take charge for the campaign, with double Australian A-League champion Brian Kaltack wearing the captain’s armband fresh off another successful season for Central Coast Mariners.

Schmeling’s first squad is heavy on experience and includes a number of Ifira Black Bird FC players, who were in Tahiti last month for the OFC Men’s Champions League – amongst them Dick Sablan, Godine Tenene and Spokey Jack Johnathan.

The national side have been building strongly in recent months, with a 4th place finish at the Pacific Games in Honiara at the end of last year, along with a semi-final appearance at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in New Zealand in September.

Ifira Black Bird’s Godine Tenene scores and celebrates his goal. OFC Men’s Champions League 2024, Vaivase-Tai FC v Ifira Black Bird, Stade Pater, Tahiti, Saturday 18 May 2024. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Whilst home crowds will surely prove a boost when Kaltack leads his team onto the field for their opening match against Solomon Islands, it will be a tough challenge to advance from Group A, with New Caledonia and defending champions and favourites New Zealand making up the quartet.

Playing in front of what is sure to be a passionate fanbase is an experience that Schmeling is looking forward to.

“We want to play well in front of our nation so we need to work together as much as we can to represent Vanuatu well in this Nations Cup,” he said.

The most pressing challenge for Schmeling will be to hit the ground running, with a group of players he hasn’t had much time to work with following his recent appointment to the role.

“I just arrived three days before the final list was submitted,” he explained.

“As you can see, I didn’t have much time to assess the players, so for this Nations Cup all we could do was to select players that I already knew, players with more experience in the international level and the key for this list is the communication that we are having between our managers and the VFF. ”

Vanuatu squad for the OFC Men’s Nations Cup 2024


James Iamar
Dgen Leo
Dick Sablan


Michael Coulon
Jason Thomas
Tasso Jeffery
Lency Philip
Kerry Yawak
Brian Kaltack
Timothy Messeck Boulet
Jared Nathan Clark


Jason Timatua
Alick Worworbu
Bong Kalo
Johnwel Wohale
John Alick
Claude Aru
Barry Mansale


Spokey Jack Johnathan
Kency Tangis
Godine Tenene
Alex Saniel
Jose Moses