VFF struggles to send team to World Cup tournament

In a media conference at the VFF Haus Tuesday 9 March 2004, Vanuatu Football Federation Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Nipo calls on the government and members of the local business community to provide financial support or Vanuatu withdraws from the tournament.

"I appeal to the government and the business community, and especially our traditional partners to come forward. VFF allocates a budget of 10 million Vatu per year for Vanuatu's participation in international tournaments, so far we have accumulated part of the budget for 2004 during our participation in the recent Olympic Qualifying tournament", Mr. Nipo exclaimed.

Meanwhile VFF and the office of the prime minsiter are looking at getting the Prime Minister to launch a national fund raiser. VFF President Johnny Tinsley Lulu will be having a meeting with Prime Minister Edward Natapei later this week on the matter.

Local radio station Number One FM 98 has also started a special program encouraging people to provide financial support for the national team.

Technical Director and National Coach Carlos Buzzetti told the media conference that Vanuatu's failure to participate in the world cup qualifying tournament would be a major set back for the country.

"We have achieved so much in the past four years and gained recognition by OFC and FIFA, resulting in of course our players starting to go overseas.

"But if we do not take part this time, I do not know how we can hold the senior players together for the next years to come. The current system disadvantages the island teams because while all the confederations would be playing home and away for their 2006 world cup qualification during the years and months leading up to 2006, our senior team will have no competition starting next year.

"So it is very important that we participate so that we can put all our developments in the past years to test and see where we stand in OFC ranking."

VFF Chief Executive Officer Mr. Nipo pointed out that whenever a national team compete in an international tournament, they represent the country and not VFF or any individual.

"We fly our national flag and sing our national anthem... so I think it is time that the government assist in getting everyone behind the team so they can go to Samoa to play".

Vanuatu is grouped with Fiji, Papua New Guinea, American Samoa and Samoa. Their tournament will; be played at the Samoa football accademy from 10 to 19 May 2004.


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