Vanuatu have a strong record in football, and one which belies the size of the tiny Pacific nation. With a strong French influence, the nation formerly known as New Hebrides has been a consistent performer in Oceania since their first FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign in 1994.

Vanuatu teams traditionally display a rich mix of technical ability and athleticism in their football. These traits were apparent when the national team achieved perhaps their greatest result with a deserved 4-2 win over New Zealand in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

One of the stars of that match was current U-15 coach, Etienne Mermer, who is hoping to pass on the experience of three FIFA World Cup campaigns to his young charges. The defensive midfielder from Tafea FC who recently retired from the national team, has looked after the young Vanuatu team since last year.

The vast majority of the squad hail from the Teouma Academy, with the team’s most recent match an outing against the senior Academy side which finished in a 2-2 draw. Perhaps the most notable squad member is towering 193cm goalkeeper Seiloni Iaruel, with the youngster having already featured in the national senior national squad.