Twin threat inspires Vanuatu

Vanuatu raised more than a few eyebrows in their final game at the Boys’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament as they dispatched Zimbabwe 2-0 to end their campaign on a high note. And steering the team to their only victory at Singapore 2010 were a pair of twin brothers.

Born on 3 December 1995, in Port Vila, Raoul and Michel are the given names of the two Coulon siblings. Deployed as a centre-back, Raoul provided leadership in the rearguard throughout the game while Michel, forming the attacking line alongside Andre Kalselik, who was tonight’s true star.

Zimbabwe pressed hard from the outset with Mgcini Sibanda and Lucky Ndlela repeatedly threatening the Vanuatu goal. But the defence, bossed by Raoul, proved solid and having weathered the early storm, it was the turn of Michel to shine. The No14 was a constant threat in the Zimbabwe penalty area and he made the Africans sweat when he ghosted into the area only to see his shot turned around for corner. With both sides surging forward for the opener, a brilliant bit of improvisation by Michel set up Kalselik to put Vanuatu in front.

Today we played a great game. I didn’t score a goal but I did my part of job to help our side to victory and this was the most important for me.

Jelene Waiwai’s cross from the left found Michel on the edge of the area, but instead of taking his shot, the cool-headed striker squared for Kalselik who opened the scoring with a low strike. “I was facing the goalkeeper when I was about to make the pass to him (Kalselik),” Michel told after the celebrations were done. “I attracted the most attention from the defenders and was not in a good position to finish, so I immediately decided to cross for my partner to complete the job. We have played together for a long time so we have a telepathic understanding between us.”

Their second goal was again the result of the handiwork of Michel, whose powerful drive was palmed away by Fungai Benard. The clearance fell at the feet of Kalselik, who unleashed a lightning shot which was deflected into the net. “Today we played a great game. I didn’t score a goal but I did my part of job to help our side to victory and this was the most important for me,” said the unselfish forward.

Mutual praise “His performance was brilliant today,” stated Raoul, after watching from deep how his brother dazzled the opponents’ defence and had a hand at their two goals. “He did his attacking job well and for me he had everything but a goal.”

Michel also acknowledged how the watertight backline, bossed by his brother Raoul, helped his side to turn their 2-0 lead into victory. “He and our defenders kept their cool throughout the eighty minutes, holding off the Africans’ attacks to make our victory possible. My brother played a great game,” he concluded.