The next generation of female Vanuatu players have received a boost with the maiden Girls Football Festival held on Friday.
The Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) women's department organised the festival with the assistance of participants from this week's FIFA Women's Coaching Course as a means of promoting girls' participation in football activities, as well as encouraging football activities.
More than 70 young players from schools in the capital Port Vila participated in the event which, according to VFF women's development officer Rorona Kalsakau, made the festival a resounding success and reflected positively on the quality and quantity of women's coaches in the Melanesian nation.
"Everyone who participated thoroughly enjoyed the day and, more importantly, every girl who took part had a positive experience playing in the festival,” said Kalsakau.
The event took place at the conclusion of a five-day FIFA Women’s Football Coaching Course held this week in the Pacific island nation. FIFA coaching instructor and respected Hong Kong national team coach Chan Shuk Chi, who facilitated this week’s course, said the festival will hopefully lead to an increase in female participation.
"It is fantastic to see so many girls playing football - I'm sure they all really enjoyed themselves," said Chan.
"I thought the day was excellent with a fun atmosphere, it was great to see. They now know they can go and play school football and hopefully some of the girls will take up that opportunity."
The festival has brought the world game to a greater audience and opened the door to further female participation according to VFF chief executive officer Albert Manaroto.
“Very well done to all of the girls for showing that football isn’t just for the boys," Manaroto said.
“A big thank you to the women’s football department, course participants and most importantly to FIFA instructor Chan Shuk Chi. Another big thank you to the teachers and coaches for giving up their time to help the girls today.
“This is just the beginning and we are all now looking forward to seeing more girls football festival's in the future.”
The event was supported by FIFA, OFC and the Vanuatu Football Federation.