Vanuatu’s Brian Kaltak is proving age is no barrier to achieving football glory. After joining the Central Coast Mariners this season at the age of 29, Kaltak has had his deal extended through to 2025 at the A-League club.

“It has taken me a while to get my professional contract, now that I am here looking back, what a journey it has been. I am grateful and just happy to be here,” Kaltak told the Mariners’ website.

“This is one of the things that I have always dreamed of. I am thankful to [coaches] Monty and Serg. They see something in me that other coaches maybe didn’t and that I can perform at this level. I told them that I could do it and they gave me the chance. I am just enjoying it now and ready to keep going.”

Kaltak’s decade-long journey to the A-League began with the Vanuatu Football Federation’s academy in Teoum. He then played for local side Erakor Golden Star FC before moving to New Zealand.

After working his way up through club sides Waterside Karori and Tasman United, Kaltak was signed to powerful Auckland City FC and also spent time at Central United. He also trialed for the Wellington Phoenix, the team he eventually made his A-League debut against for the Mariners.

“Brian deserves all the plaudits he has been given so far and has proved so many people wrong. That’s what I love the most about him and that’s why he already has hero status at the club amongst the fans,” said Mariners coach Nick Montgomery.

Kaltak has played for the Vanuatu national team since 2011, scoring five goals and being made captain. He featured in the FIFA+ documentary series Captains, which followed six national team captains through qualification games for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

“It defies belief that no one took a chance on him before,” said Montgomery.

“He is an inspiration not only for everyone in Vanuatu but also an inspiration to his teammates who know his journey and hold him in the highest regard.”