Wesley Viraliliu, national player and development officer, explaining cricket basics to Vila East students

The Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) are building on recent success to offer current players a full time contract with a big focus on personal growth off the field.

The VCA has just announced a bold new contract system for its men’s contracted players and wanting to grow it for the national women’s players in the future.

The concept of the contract system is to enhance the performance on the field but also a big emphasis on off field personal development and the team contributing more in the school development and junior cricket programs to ensure a bright future for cricketers in Vanuatu.

High Performance Manager and National Coach Shane Deitz says “We are growing as a team and now we as an organisation want to compete against higher quality opposition from much bigger countries so we need to grow to be able to keep enjoying greater success. It is a must that we become full time professionals to be able to keep rising in the world rankings but from my experience as a professional player and working with professionals around the world it is really important we take steps to ensure the players off the field develop life skills so when they retire from playing they have big and bright futures in the workforce. Obviously we will be training harder than ever but each player has an individual personal development plan tailored to improve education standards, allow work experience training and placement, media training and involve public speaking appearances. We believe the outcome will be the young men and women become better rounded individuals and half better opportunities in later life.”

To grow this program the VCA have employed a new Development Supervisor Nathalie Hava who has a strong teaching background and dealing with youth to steer them on the right life pathway. Deitz added “we now have Nathalie on board who has assessed the player’s education levels and will develop any weaknesses in that area over time. She is a strong lady with a successful teaching background and a passion to work with young people and is a great acquisition to the VCA team.”

The major initiative is practical work place experience and training. “The major impact we will have is getting the boys some practical work experience in real businesses and careers that they have an interest in. We are testing them to discover what skills and interests they have and in time we will be approaching local businesses to assist us by allowing the players to spend a day or half a day a week to work in their organisation with a view in the future that when their cricket is over they can transition into the workforce. My experience tells me these other interests and activities in life will make the players more rounded men, have better skills in life and a real future to look forward to” Deitz explains.

The development program will grow to as part of the player’s new contracts is to run the weekly school visits happening all over Efate. Coach Deitz explains “The success the VCA has achieved so far is down to the development program particularly the school development program. The national players will now play an even bigger role in this program weekly to ensure this program continues to grow. The players are passionate about wanting to unearth the next generation of future national players and grow the game even more. It is amazing that these young boys and girls get to know and be coached by national players and the team want to inspire these children to be part of cricket and hopefully get the chance to represent their country like they do.”

This is a great new development for cricket in Vanuatu and the national players. “The VCA wants the public to know that we are not only a cricket team that plays all over the world but an organisation offering so many opportunities off the field. The vision is that when you see or meet a national cricketer you will be impressed with his or her all round abilities and persona. We want parents to know if their children are involved with cricket they will improve life skills like team work, communication skills, planning and become part of the cricket family. We are passionate about this as an association and we want more people to associate with us. Obviously all this growth needs commercial and government support and we need to prove we are worth this backing and that’s what we are really striving to do. There are opportunities to be part of the VCA and the national teams and we look forward to creating more relationships within Vanuatu” Deitz concludes with.

It is a big international year in 2017 with the Men’s team already winning their regional tournament and now will travel to South Africa late in August to compete in the ICC World Cricket League Division 5. The Women’s team leave for Japan for their T/20 World Cup regional qualifier on April 26th and the Under 19’s fly to Samoa in August to play in their World Cup Qualifying tournament

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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