Photo Credit Ryan Temu FTF – Nesta Moli, Vanuatu Head Coach

Vanuatu was the first team to arrive in Papeete ahead of the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship which kicks off in the Tahitian capital on Wednesday. (Thursday NZT)

Nesta Moli’s side arrived last Friday and have spent the past couple of days getting used to the surroundings as they prepare for their Group B fixtures against Fiji, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands.

“We feel very happy to be here and it was an opportunity for us to arrive early. We have had four months to prepare for the tournament (back in Vanuatu ) and for most of the girls it is the first time to participate in a tournament like this. It’s a real privilege for us to be here and participate especially playing a 90-minute game,” Moli said.

(Vanuatu players take part in Media Training ahead of the OFC Women’s U-16 Championship in Tahiti)

The OFC U-16 Women’s Championship starts less than a month after the conclusion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup which was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia and Moli said being able to watch the best players in the world being so close to home was inspiring for her players.

 “Yes, most of us watched the World Cup and we were really inspired by Australia. (semi-finalists) To watch Australia and how they play, participate in the World Cup makes us really feel comfortable and have confidence in ourselves that we can also play football.”

For goalkeeper Daniella Harry, the opportunity to represent her country is a dream come true for the 15-year-old.” I’m very excited because it’s like all the girls we really appreciate our position that we have reached. It’s the first time for us in Tahiti and we are feeling confident,” Harry said.

As goalkeeper Harry understands the importance of her role and is relishing the opportunity to help the team and maybe be a hero.

“Yes, I would love to do that, I love playing goalkeeper and really appreciate my position in the team.”

And Harry says if there’s one player to really look out for in her team at this tournament, it’s striker Keren Carlot.

Vanuatu kick off their campaign against Fiji on Thursday (Friday NZT).