Federica Tono will be a new Vanuatu volleyball coach

Vanuatu beach volleyball players. Photo: VVF

Vanuatu Volleyball Federation secures the services of Italian coach Federica Tono who will be the new VVF coach for next year.

Tono fills in the position replaces Michael Bargmann who left this year. This appointment has been made possible under the FIVB Coach Support grant.

Few major events that VVF will be focussing on is the postponed AVC Olympic Qualifier in June and Tokyo Olympic Games in July.

The AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) and FIVB (Federation of International Volleyball) have not yet released their 2021 competition calendars.

“VVF would like to participate in the annual Australian National Tour which usually takes place across the summer months, but that will depend on quarantine requirements and available funding,” VVF president Debbie Masauvakalo states.

Other plans

Regaining much of the sponsorships and stakeholder support VVF and V4C had worked hard to develop but which dropped off or lessened due to the disruption;

With the ending of the six-year Australian government aid PSP funding for the V4C programs in December 2020, VVF is working hard to ensure a new funding initiative will be implemented in support of VVFs sport for development program which in its new expanded form will continue to focus on the themes of both gender and disability inclusion;

This year has been good year for VVF.

“Very unusual and not one that will be quickly forgotten. There is no way to rate the year according to overall performance or achievement on the court – except of course for making it to the final phase of Olympic qualification.

“Before the pause button was hit on everything. There have however been some unexpected positives which give the year a special rating as a success,” Masauvakalo added.

What were some of the highlights of this year?

Winning the Continental Cup – Oceania Championship with a win against New Zealand in March to advance to the final Tokyo2020 qualifier would have to be the major highlight for the National Women’s team despite being unable to move down that road any further towards Tokyo;

Seeing our Queen of the Court, Miller Pata recognised yet again for her achievements as a ni-Van woman in sport through both the ‘Strong Women of Vanuatu’ documentary and being featured in the children’s book ‘Taf Tumas – Different Journeys, One People’

For the rest of VVF team, the efforts made by the Volley4Change staff in partnership with NGOs and charities in Santo, following the devastation to the northern region by TC Harold was amazing. Many weeks of travelling to villages and communities in and around Santo and outer islands to bring, not only some volleyball respite, but to deliver goods, clothing, food and some much-needed support to the people;

With no travel or activity outside of Vanuatu borders, taking the opportunity to focus on volleyball development and the V4C programs within the country at a community level – being able to do some capacity building of staff and local sporting leaders, coaches and teachers through delivery of courses; expand our para-volley program in support of our increased focus on disability inclusion in the sport with regular clinics and consolidating the delivery of weekly sessions, plus featuring in the 40th Independence celebrations at the ParaSports Championships thanks to our partner Vanuatu Paralympic Committee;

Visiting outer islands and provinces as with the National Women’s team going to Santo and the Torba Province to promote beach volleyball, women in sport and keeping fit and healthy, visiting schools and communities in Sola and visiting several small outer islands – including Rah and Miller’s home island of Mota Lava, the V4C development staff, taking volleyball programs to other regions like Torba Province and later in the year to Ambae in Penama Province.

What were some of the saddest moment?

Sad about the postponement of international competition pathway to Tokyo2020 with the Women’s team having gained such great confidence and momentum from their Oceania qualifier victory;

Seeing the effect on the Vanuatu community as a consequence of the global pandemic, despite there being no cases in Vanuatu; the devastation to the tourist industry which has led to people losing their jobs and less revenue coming into the country;

The loss of support staff from overseas due to the pandemic as they were forced to return to their home countries reducing VVFs capacity;

What are some of the learnings you will take from this year building it up next year?

VVFs connection to its community family is central to its vision and mission;

Partnerships for sports organisations in developing countries are crucial to achieve objectives.

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