This is the real state of soccer in Nauru

A website portraying itself as a league on Nauru appeared last month, but has since disappeared. Football in Oceania has been speaking to the man actually involved with football on the island.

Linkbelt Oval
The gravel pitch of the Linkbelt Oval is the only real pitch to speak of on Nauru. (Photo credit: Paul Watson)

His name is Kaz Cain and he is involved in bringing the Nauru Soccer Federation back up on its feet.

He says football, or soccer as he calls it, is being played on the island, but not competitively.

“We have currently a Nauru Soccer Federation that is in place. My role in this is that I am the Vice President of the federation. We are trying to do soccer tournaments in the community, but for the moment there are some interference, there are some things like that we don’t have a very good soccer pitch. Hopefully there will be games,” Cain tells Football in Oceania.

“At the moment there is soccer involvement in the community, but not in the schools yet. They are just running sports in the physical education curriculum. I don’t know if they have a tournament of soccer there. But yeah, there is community playing soccer around where I live.”

Kids in school
Kids playing football in school. (Photo credit: Paul Watson)

He says trying to push soccer to the people, in a country with a population of around 13.000, is hard. Especially considering the nations close ties to Australia.

“Basically, the challenges that we are facing is getting players involved in soccer, because the main sport here is the love of the AFL, the Australian Football League. But after that there is quite an involvement in the community in playing soccer,” Cain says.

Cain, who is a finance manager in the electoral office in Nauru in his day job, and enjoys going fishing from time to time, says he’s trying to get a calendar for the sport up and running.

“My role as Vice President is trying to get a calendar for soccer tournaments running. We have inactive members as well, sometimes,” he says.

“I know that around the world soccer is a big sport and for a country with only 13-14.000 population, or less, we’ll try to push soccer as well.”

Linkbelt Oval AFL - AFL Nauru
The main sport on Nauru is the Australia Rules Football, or AFL. Here’s a women’s game being played at the Linkbelt Oval. (Photo credit: AFL Nauru)

Paul Watson runs the organisation Uncharted Football, who try to help football grow in smaller nations, and Oceania in particular. He has previously been on a “scouting mission” to the country.

“I visited Nauru in February 2018 and chatted to the Nauru Soccer Association about providing a volunteer coach to help with their drive for football development on the island,” Watson tells Football in Oceania.

He says they hope to get a coach out there soon.

“The FA has been restructuring for a while, but progress is being made. COVID-19 has delayed our plans somewhat but once life returns towards normality, we still hope to be able to send over a coach to help the work being done by the Nauru FA in growing the beautiful game there.”

Author: Ola Bjerkevoll

A passion for everything football and especially in Oceania. Owner of Football in Oceania.

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