Legend
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It's been one of Infantino's pet projects, more regular games for the international 'minnows'. Each FIFA nation gets a vote at election time after all.

Nice opportunity for Vanuatu & PNG, who so seldom play non OFC teams. 
Though I'd prefer a combined AFC (East Asia)-OFC Nations League was the solution to that.
Starting XI
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It's a good concept, and a useful tool in getting exposure for some of the lesser known names in the international game.

A bit of history in the offing too.

Neither Vanuatu, nor PNG have ever faced CAF opposition. Vanuatu will take on Guinea in one of their matches, and PNG will play the Central African Republic in one of theirs.

Legend
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Tahiti remain a powerhouse in beach football. Beat Argentina & Spain at the Beach Football WC, and through to the quarters.

https://www.oceaniafootball.com/tahiti-stun-spain-to-qualify-for-knockout-phase-at-beach-soccer-world-cup/



Legend
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YoungHeartHM
It's a good concept, and a useful tool in getting exposure for some of the lesser known names in the international game.

A bit of history in the offing too.

Neither Vanuatu, nor PNG have ever faced CAF opposition. Vanuatu will take on Guinea in one of their matches, and PNG will play the Central African Republic in one of theirs.


https://www.oceaniafootball.com/papua-new-guinea-and-vanuatu-to-take-part-in-fifa-series-project/

Ahead of the full roll-out in March 2026, the pilot project will run from 18 to 26 March 2024. The forthcoming edition of the FIFA Series will feature national teams from all six confederations, and future instalments are planned during every March international match window of even years.

Vanuatu, ranked 170 in the FIFA rankings, will compete in a series in Saudi Arabia with Bermuda (171, Concacaf), Brunei Darussalam (194, AFC) and Guinea (76, CAF).

Papua New Guinea, ranked 165, will play in a series with hosts Sri Lanka (204, AFC) , Bhutan (184, AFC) and Central African Republic (129, CAF)

Starting XI
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No news on if they're going to be showing upcoming friendlies, but a good move for the OFC in terms of visibility for the next couple of years at least anyway.
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Sad news for micronation enjoyers everywhere - after returning home from Bosnia due to homesickness, it’s confirmed that Raphael Lea’i has rejoined Henderson Eels for the upcoming S-League season, and I hear he has no plans to return overseas anytime soon. Can’t imagine how much of a culture shift SI to Bosnia must be for a teenager
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mrsmiis
Sad news for micronation enjoyers everywhere - after returning home from Bosnia due to homesickness, it’s confirmed that Raphael Lea’i has rejoined Henderson Eels for the upcoming S-League season, and I hear he has no plans to return overseas anytime soon. Can’t imagine how much of a culture shift SI to Bosnia must be for a teenager

Micronesian or Micronation? Like maybe players from San Marino or Liechtenstein?

But yeah that is sad news in many ways. Overseas clubs will definitely be wary now of signing Lea'i, especially if they dig further into his past like leaving the Weenix Academy, also because of homesickness.

The new mooted OFC Professional Club League is due to start next year. Though things have been pretty quiet in that space. You would be hoping for some new announcements soon, or otherwise start to doubt it will happen.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OFC_Professional_League

As we have seen with the Nix now as a 17 year old pro pathway for young Kiwis, it's often better to have 2-4 years pro experience in the ALM, before then signing for a Euro club with that pro experience already under your belt. Better preparation for ruthless Euroland, than going up there as a young 18 year old from amateur football.

So perhaps Lea'i (age 20) just going to stay now in the Solomons and try build a pro career off this new league. I've always thought the Roar would be his best bet in the ALM. Similar climate and a large Micronesian community (mostly PNG ex pats admittedly) in Brissy.

Edit - this Dec 2023 article mentions OFC announcing a competition manager for the new pro club comp by January this year. Worryingly I don't think any such announcement has been made.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/504740/ofc-says-pro-league-focus-in-2024

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has revealed that the new OFC Professional League competition will be a focus area in the new year.

Responding to questions from RNZ Pacific, the OFC said more information on the series will be revealed in the new year, adding that they have appointed a competition manager.

"OFC has appointed a Pro League Manager who will be starting work in the New Year," an OFC spokesperson said on email.

"When the Manager is announced in January we will be in a position to reveal more information about the establishment of the OFC Pro League," the added.
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Bossi Insider
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Heading to Brisbane and spending a season in the NPL, with the aim of picking up an ALM deal might be the best route for him imo.
Legend
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Should add that Auckland City are already locked in as OFC's team at this year's FIFA CWC.

The Henderson Eels, Olympic or whoever cannot play at this year's CWC.
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Love this. 


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Some great games coming up thanks for the newly created FIFA Series (all streamed on Fifa+) whose aim is to give smaller teams a chance to compete vs teams from other confederations they wouldn't normally play against.
Vanuatu are away at Guinea, PNG away at Sri Lanka plus other great games such as Cape Verde v Guyana, Bulgaria v Tanzania, Bermuda v Brunei...very exciting 
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newzealandpower
Some great games coming up thanks for the newly created FIFA Series (all streamed on Fifa+) whose aim is to give smaller teams a chance to compete vs teams from other confederations they wouldn't normally play against.
Vanuatu are away at Guinea, PNG away at Sri Lanka plus other great games such as Cape Verde v Guyana, Bulgaria v Tanzania, Bermuda v Brunei...very exciting 

Don't forget the qualifying round for the Oceania Nations Cup is coming up as well. 😉

Starting XI
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20240320_140312.jpg 179.22 KB

Just about to kick off.

Thinking Samoa would be favourites to qualify for the Oceania Nations Cup out of this tournament.

Game live on FIFA + at the moment 0-0 as it stands after only a couple of minutes.
Legend
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One of the real football tragics maybe. Samoa 1-0 up.

Edit - commentary. 8 newly eligible players of Tongan descent have been found in Morocco!! Some Tongan bloke somehow got himself to Northern Africa and got busy?? The world is a fascinating rock.

https://www.plus.fifa.com/en/content/tonga-v-samoa-ofc-men-s-nations-cup-qualifying-2024/fdffb794-18f2-4300-aead-b4deceda7148?gl=au
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coochiee
One of the real football tragics maybe. Samoa 1-0 up.

Edit - commentary. 8 newly eligible players of Tongan descent have been found in Morocco!! Some Tongan bloke somehow got himself to Northern Africa and got busy?? The world is a fascinating rock.

https://www.plus.fifa.com/en/content/tonga-v-samoa-ofc-men-s-nations-cup-qualifying-2024/fdffb794-18f2-4300-aead-b4deceda7148?gl=au

Heard that too. 😳
Must be some military connection? I'm sure ive read previously about Tongan army personnel being stationed in North Africa, so possibly some link to that?

Ata Inia - Tonga's first professional footballer is supposedly joining up with the squad for their second match against the Cook Islands. Plays for Phrae United in Thai League 2. He wasn't able to make it in time for this match due to passport issues.

https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/ata-inia/leistungsdatentrainer/spieler/861058/trainer_id/100399

Excellent to see these scouting networks open up possibilities for Oceania countries. If it increases the overall quality in the Pacific  then I'm all for it. 

2-0 Samoa at H/T btw. 
Legend
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Yeah might be a Tongan military link. Still oddest story I've heard for awhile!

Lots of Fijian army guys get posted all around the word, many with the UN from Israel to Africa to whereever. Their remittances a big source of income for Fiji. Was a Fijian guy on the wing for the England rugby team, that prior had served in the British Army. By pure chance was at the Jersualem Rugby 7s in 1998 (a life time ago), and the Israel team had a few UN peace keepers in their ranks.

At the recent OFC womens tourney, a big number of the Samon team, were from the USA. So yeah these links are becoming more common, and lifting the level of the Island teams.

Samoa won 4-1, so those Moroccan-Tongans likely won't even need be that good to get a future call up.
https://www.oceaniafootball.com/samoa-break-tongan-hearts-at-ofc-nations-cup-2024-qualifier/


Legend
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Over breakfast tomorrow you can watch Vanuatu verus Guinea, in Saudi Arabia.

A cynic would say the Saudi Arabians looking to completely lock in bloc votes for CAF & OFC, re their 2034 Mens World Cup hosting bid. Some night time entertainment (with hidden cameras), and brown paper bags being organised for the various CAF & OFC officials in attendance. I'm sure I'm just being cynical.

https://www.plus.fifa.com/en/content/guinea-v-vanuatu-fifa-series-2024-saudi-arabiatm-2024/44427e4f-8d19-436b-a9b2-55aefbb6f69f
Starting XI
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Fiji wrapped up their international window against the Solomons yesterday with a 2-0 win in Honiara.

20240322_070823.jpg 116.71 KB

Always nice to see Roy Krishna in the goals too.

Ties the ledger up over the two games as the Solomons won the first encounter 2-1 a few days ago.
Marquee
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Vanuatu are 2-0 down within 13 minutes. Hopefully they can steady the ship and get back into it.
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loyalgunner
Vanuatu are 2-0 down within 13 minutes. Hopefully they can steady the ship and get back into it.

4-0 at the half, and probably lucky it's not 6 or 7 to be honest.

I like the initiative the FIFA Series takes with the promotion of cross confederation matches, but it's a tough ask for a team of part timers to take on a team of European based professionals. Vanuatu would probably have been better served playing against Bermuda - The other team in their series. 

Some harsh lessons to come out of this, but hopefully it serves them well in the long run playing a fixture of this nature.

Have turned commentary to mute as well. Couldn't handle the guy on the mic butchering 'Vanootu' anymore. 🥴
Legend
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Finished 6-0. Big learning experience for some of the Vanuatu boys no doubt.
They were without their main inspirational man Kaltak, so he would have made some difference.

https://www.flashscore.com/match/rmA6iU7A/#/match-summary/lineups
https://www.oceaniafootball.com/vanuatu-suffer-defeat-in-opening-fifa-series-match-in-saudi-arabia/

Next a far more winnable game against Brunei.

Legend
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Vanuatu (WR ranking 170) lose 3-2 to Brunei (194), in Saudi.
Earlier they lost 6-0 to Guinea (76)
https://www.oceaniafootball.com/vanuatu-suffer-narrow-defeat-as-new-zealand-lose-on-penalties-at-fifa-series/


PNG (165) lost 4-0 to Central African Republic (129), a few days ago in Sri Lanka.
https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2024/03/25/world/friendlies/central-african-republic/papua-new-guinea/4319269/


Great experiences for both sides, which should better prepare for facing the AWs in June. But yeah shows that the other OFC teams, still belong with the minnows in a world sense.

Legend
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Legend
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Interesting life story. Looks like he will be strong competition for the locals at the dinner table.

https://www.oceaniafootball.com/next-coach-wins-meet-the-new-coach-tasked-with-improving-american-samoa/

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