In a press release, the federation answers criticism from fans who have not been pleased with the recent results for the youth teams in OFC competitions.
The Vanuatu U19 team lost all their matches at the OFC U19 Championship in August, scoring only twice and being heavily defeated by New Caledonia 8-1. The U16 team is currently playing in the OFC U16 Championship and started their campaign with an 8-0 loss to New Zealand. In the second matchday, earlier today, they lost to 5-0 to Papua New Guinea.
This has caused fans to hurl angry words at the Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) and accusing them of not putting enough effort into the youth development.
Now the VFF has responded to that criticism, and while they acknowledge some things have not been good enough, they also try to explain why.
From midway through 2016 to February this year the VFF was under a partial ban from the world governing body FIFA.
This, the VFF explains, had an “effect on how the organization is run particularly on a short term” and it also meant that “VFF has had to stop all youth programmes to redirect all funding in 2017 towards the U20 World Cup campaign which costed 30m VT (€227 000). Towards the Mini Games, and in order to achieve Gold, VFF has had to again suspend all youth football activities to assist that the National Team with over 10m VT (€75 000).”
“Winning requires investment”
They go on to state that while they understand the fans frustration, they can only work with the resources they have. The VFF say they get no funding from the government and feels that should be taken into account.
“When there is no national funding to Football preparation or any other Federation from the Government, the likelihood or sustaining a high level of performance is a great challenge. Football fans and equally tax payers need to fully understand that winning requires investment, however when there is no contribution from Government or the public, there is very little grounds for excessive criticism and abuse.”
The Vanuatu Association of Sports And National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) also joined in the debate, asking if there were any other sports experiencing similar situations.
Certainly an interesting read coming out of @vanuafoot yesterday 🤔🤔
➡️Food for thought perhaps, how many other sports are in the same predicament 🤨?? https://t.co/q769Q2DdxZ
— VASANOC (@vasanoc) September 11, 2018
The VFF says that Vanuatu’s lack of a National Sports Policy makes it difficult for them and other federations to do their jobs well. They urge the authorities to consider implementing such a policy as soon as possible to give federations better preparation for next year’s Pacific Games.
Looking for head coach and playing friendlies
On the playing field the VFF state that they have secured funding for “a competent National Coach to oversee all National Teams” and will start advertising next week. They will also renew their efforts to strengthen the local coaching capacity with the focus being on the World Cup Qualification for 2026.
According to the VFF they have been promised assistance for national team travel to the sum of 50 million Vatu (€377 000) per year during a bilateral meeting between FIFA and the VFF President Lambert Maltock. The support from FIFA comes with the requirement of the national team to partake in four international friendlies per year.