Vanuatu captain hopes new NZ competition will open the way for more islanders

All that was missing was the fairy tale ending, as the captain of Vanuatu's national men's soccer team, Brian Kaltak, became the first player from his country to feature in New Zealand's Premiership Grand Final.

After missing out on finals altogether last year because of the pandemic, Kaltak was hoping for a winner's medal with Auckland City, but arch-rivals Team Wellington got the better of them with a 4-2 victory.

The match was historic for more reasons than one, as it was the last final under New Zealand's old system, with Auckland now part of a new and bigger domestic competition which has already kicked off.

Kaltak is hoping the new set-up will open the way for more players from the Pacific Islands to join him in New Zealand, and that his own example will inspire others.

“The fact that I tried my best and I did it, I just want to send a message that if I can do it, they can do it as well," Kaltak has told Pacific Beat.

“You look at the talent that we have in the Pacific, it's unbelievable. It's not just football, you can see it in rugby and everywhere.”

And Kaltak has revealed that his Vanuatu team mate, Bong Kalo, who starred for his country at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in 2017 almost joined him in New Zealand.

“Auckland City wanted to sign him and we tried to bring him over, but when our coach Ramon Tribulietx was dismissed, everything changed,” he said.


Photo file Oceania Football Centre  Caption: Brian Kaltak