Preparations are under way for Oceania Intercontinental cup in Sydney Australia.The Mens team will be hoping to go more better than the silver they won at last year in world league round 1! Team to be announced soon! Hopefully both Men and Women team will be competed in the tournament.
Vanuatu U.18 Defeat Fiji in a whirlwind of talent and speed
The U.18 Vanuatu boys team excelled throughout their first U.18 competition, coming away with a surprise victory against the dominant Fiji.
Ever since Vanuatu has been a hockey federation, Fiji has been the powerhouse of the Pacific, leading the way for the smaller island nations. For the last decade Fiji has been the only venue in the Pacific with a synthetic hockey turf, and their experience and great player base has kept them up closer to Australia and New Zealand than to their Pacific Island neighbors.
The young Ni Vanuatu team shocked the Fijians in the tournament rounds, coming out with a tremendous 8-4 victory. Blazing from the beginning, with a crowd of 400 strong behind them, the boys lifted to a new level and took it to the Fijians. The goals came thick and fast from the beginning, as the boys put on a demonstration of speed and determination.
Goals from Team vice captain Zedrack Harry, as well as super slick striker Edmo Iasi (younger brother to the winning goal scorer Nalpinie Iasi in the Junior World Cup Qualifiers Bronze medal match) pushed Vanuatu ahead and gave the crowd a spectacular, of which Fiji could not match.
The Boys also played confidently against powerhouses Australia and New Zealand, looking dangerous in attack and exhuming confidence despite the vast disparity in the teams experience.
Vanuatu men finished 3rd after the rounds however after a disappointing final were unlucky to miss out on the bronze, losing to Fiji 4-3. This score line however, is still a fantastic success for the VHF, a federation of only 6 years compared to Fiji’s sixty!
The event has given the young athletes a fantastic experience, meeting and playing against athletes from some of the strongest hockey nations in the world, swapping uniforms and country pendants, as well as teaching traveling athletes a little about Vanuatu. There is still a fleeting chance that the Vanuatu U.18 mens team will qualify to compete in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China this August – fingers crossed!