Vanuatu has one of the most advanced technical programmes in Oceania, particularly at youth level. The Melanesian nation of around 220,000 inhabitants was chosen as one of six countries globally for a FIFA pilot project whereby players are identified at a young age and selected to train and stay full-time at the national academy.
As part of that two-year programme for players aged 15-17, consideration is given to continuing school or vocational education. The main objective, however, is to facilitate national team players’ entry into professional football. These activities will make full use of the infrastructure of the technical centre in Teouma, Port Vila, built with funding from the FIFA Goal Programme. The success of the project, which started in 2008, has led to Vanuatu being nominated to represent Oceania at the first ever Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
Under the leadership of President Lambert Maltock, Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) has worked hard to establish the academy and national headquarters in Teouma. VFF has also focused on developing beach soccer and futsal which has resulted in strong performances at OFC tournaments. As a football-devoted nation, it is only a matter of time before Vanuatu qualifies for a FIFA event.