A surprise development to come out of Vanuatu is the possible relaunch of the Melanesian Cup.
There were talks in Papua New Guinea about the tournament coming back last summer, but now the plans seem to be further along than ever.
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat, a group established in 1986 which aims to “develop a stronger cultural, political, social and economic identity and link between the people and communities of Melanesia,” according to the MSG Facebook page, met with Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) General Secretary Albert Manaroto to talk about potentially starting the Melanesian Cup back up.
The Melanesian Cup was held from 1988 to 2000 in various intervals.
Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu participated in it.
Fiji was the team that won it the most, winning five out of the seven editions, with Vanuatu and Solomon Islands winning in 1990 and 1994 respectively.
The meeting in Vanuatu came about after MSG’s Sports Council directed the MSG Secretariat to support the revival of the Melanesian Soccer Cup, the MSG wrote in a statement on their Facebook page.
MSG will speak to the other FA’s
The VFF wholeheartedly supported the restart of the competition:
“General Secretary VFF, Mr. Albert mentioned that, MSG has a large youth population and therefore it is in the best interest of MSG to recognize the need to establish sustainable sporting initiatives such as Football, Netball and other disciplines to enhance the corporation and benefits to our people and communities,” the statement read.
The MSG Secretariat Director General, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli, emphasized the importance of such a competition:
“The core purpose of this tournament is to strengthen our Melanesian cooperation and to enable both our men and women to come together in sport, build people to people relationships, strengthening Melanesian cultural values and provide integral human development for our people,” he said.
The MSG will now go on to consultations with the remaining FA’s of the member countries of MSG.
The member countries of the MSG are: Fiji, New Caledonia (represented by the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Indonesia is an Associated Member, while East Timor and the region of West Papua are observer members.
It remains to be seen if the plan to revive the Melanesian Cup bears fruit and if so, when it will take place and who will play in it.