17 Apr 2013

Sport: Vanuatu look forward to home support at U17 Football Champs

11:31 am on 17 April 2013

A spot at the World Cup in the United Arab Emirates is up for grabs when the Oceania Under 17 football championship kicks off in Vanuatu on Wednesday.

Defending champions New Zealand begin proceedings against the Cook Islands at the bright and early time of 9:30am in Luganville.

Fiji then take on New Caledonia before the hosts begin their campaign against Papua New Guinea.

Vanuatu completed their preparations with a 4-0 win over local club Seveners United and coach Etienne Mermer says the players are looking forward to running out in front of their home supporters.

"The players they are young. They are quite use of the weather and it is much better for them to play at their home.The team is quite well prepared but the main thing is we need to get a good result."

Vanuatu finished fourth at the same event two years ago, although second and third place getters Tahiti and Solomon Islands are not competing this time around.

Etienne Mermer says every team will be tough.

I respect the other countries. New Zealand is the main powerhouse in Oceania but we need to respect the other ones too. For the previous Under 17 tournaments Vanuatu teams came fourth and fifth but all countries they all prepare.The main thing is we need to focus game by game who we will play against. In the end we go for a result, that's it.