FIFA vice president, Acting OFC president and VFF President Lambert Maltock with Luganville Mayor Onen Gaviga and staff of Luganville Municipality

The Mayor of Luganville Municipal Council (LMC)and the staff of LMC welcomed Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF)President, Lambert Maltock and the VFF delegation to Russia on 20 June at the Pekoa Airport after their trip to Moscow. Mayor Onen Gavika congratulated Maltock for his sucessful election as Acting President of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and he will also represent OFC’s vice presidency in the FIFA council.

“As Mayor of Luganville town and on behalf of the Sanma President who is not here, i welcome you to Luganville,” Mayor Onen Gavika told the delegates inside the Luganville Municipal Town Hall conference room.

“Thank you for our cooperation, Luganville recognises your vision to grow football in Vanuatu because it was through these efforts that Vanuatu has reached the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea, which has made us proud”, he said.

In 2016, the Mayor’s office in Luganville recommended Maltock to the State Office and he was awarded by President of the Republic of Vanuatu Baldwin Lonsdale, a medal of service for his contribution to the development of Luganville through soccer.

“Though the challenges are many, I ask that our relationship continue, between VFF and LMC and we will continue to work together,” the Mayor concluded. President Maltock was accompanied by VFF senior vice president Iau Tuan and VFF treasurer Stanley Jacob, after their trip in Russia. Senior Vice Tuan reminded everyone that through Luganville he became the vice president of VFF.

“I am humbled and honoured for the gesture shown by Luganville today, it is emotional and we have return with sentiments from Russia to share with Luganville, the joy and tears we experienced in Russia. “Going to Russia was a long flight and challenging for us, but in the end we thank God for the opportunities, achievements and for bringing us back home safely,” he said.

He revealed the many obstacles Vanuatu went through before being elected to the high office of Oceania Football Federation. 26/06/2018 (2) Vanuatu Football Federation — Home 2/3

“They were real challenges in Russia and to me, it is not easy to make the decisions but we are thankful to our friends and colleagues from other Oceania member associations who have entrusted us to take the position. We almost gave up, but they encouraged Vanuatu to stand the elections.

“Thank you for the welcome, I expect to do the same in Tafea as after the visit here we are going down south,” he concluded. Maltock is expected to hold the office of OFC for the next six months, to remedy the situation after David Chung left in 2017. In his address to the mayor and his council, the staff of LMC and VFF staff in Luganville, the vice president of FIFA said their arrival in Port Vila after Moscow was a quiet one, “you have made me and my colleagues proud and we will continue to fly our Vanuatu flag high for the world to see.

“I will always treasure Luganville because you are always behind me and it is the place I called home. This week we decide to come to Luganville after Russia because it is Luganvile that has paved the way for so many achievements for me and Vanuatu

“I wish to thank Jacques Tronquet who has prepared me from the beginning, and for all of the achievements today, as well as the late Tensly Lulu.”

Maltock said taking up the position in the OFC is not an easy task for him, coming from the previous OFC executive and going through all the eligibility checks but he is happy FIFA has cleared his name to stand the election.

“FIFA confirmed my eligibility the day before the election and it is not easy because it took me four months to clear my name, i am in debt to my administration staff and the VFF Secretary General, Albert Manaroto for handling all the paper work in time,” he said.

There were eight applicants in the OFC Presidency election, out of 11 member associations in Moscow.

The number was too high and it had to be trimmed down.

“After intense lobbying i decided to step down, but my colleagues from other associations pushed me to contest and miraculously the support base for Vanuatu increased,” Maltock revealed.

“In the end, all 11 member associations voted for Vanuatu to take the position without a fight”.

“I wish to thank my colleagues from New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Tahiti, Western and American Samoa for trusting me and choosing Vanuatu to take the leading role at OFC .

“I promise our OFC staff and all the member associations to remedy the situation to benefit all of Oceania in the next six months.”

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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