Football

Bong Kalo ready for his first ever training in Madrid with the Leganes Youth team. Photo: Moise Poida

Germany are the best international team in the world.

World Cup champions and with a string of youth sides dominating their age categories, they are the blueprint for footballing success. A conveyor belt of world class footballers waiting to sign for the top clubs in the world.

Earlier this year when the might of Germany’s under 20s lined up against the tiny island nation of Vanuatu it was expected to be a thrashing.

What actually happened in Seoul was incredible. Unheard of. Because the best player on the pitch that day was not wearing the famous white of Germany.

At just 20 years old and in a team completely made up of amateur footballers Bong Kalo scored twice – the second a sumtous free kick over the wall to give the goalkeeper no chance.

Germany won the game 3-2 but it was Bong Kalo who made people sit up.

He had already scored against Mexico in another narrow defeat. In the next game, a big defeat to finalists Venezuela, Kalo was quieter. But he still managed to bamboozle a defender by flicking the ball over his head to get past him.

Now, Kalo has been invited to a trial at Leganes, the Spanish La Liga club hoping to mix with football giants such as Barcelona and Real Madrid. If they want advice on shocking the big boys, Kalo could be the man to ask.

Even if the long-awaited trial at a top club is unsuccessful Kalo is a still a winner.

In the week Bong Kalo received a pair of football boots as a donation from a patriotic local MP for his trial, Neymar was sold from Barcelona to Paris St Germain for a price that was more than the national budget of Vanuatu as a whole.

The boots were Nike Mercurials – a range sponsored by Cristiano Ronaldo that earns the Real Madrid superstar millions every year.

It would be fitting for the young star from Vanuatu that a gifted pair of boots may end with him sharing a pitch with Ronaldo himself as an equal.

He has definitely earned it.

Hard work, massive talent and a slice of luck in being able to play in the FIFA World Cup has got Kalo this far.

He was able to embarrass Germany and shock Mexico despite not enjoying the trappings of modern footballers in Europe.

Imagine what he will be able to do with professional coaching, top training facillities and exposure to a level of competition he will not have seen before?

Even if he is unsuccessful Kalo has already achieved great things. He has opened the eyes of the world to the vast untapped potential in Vanuatu and beyond. He has shown there is a pathway for the talented footballers of the region.

He may have just opened the floodgates for scouts from around the world to target Oceania.

And if he doesn’t get signed up a host of professional clubs are sure to be in a queue to snap up one of the most talented young players on the continent.

He will probably be the first of many.

Oceania FC

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