Sports in Vanuatu

About the Country

Vanuatu, officially known as the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island country that lies in the South Pacific Ocean. It is north of Australia, east of New Guinea and west of Fiji. It covers a total area of 12,189 km2 and is home to about 300,000 inhabitants, contributing to a GDO of $957 million.
This country’s sporting activities vary based on the gender of the players. Men mostly take part in soccer and rugby while the women gravitate towards volleyball. Let us take a closer look at the state of sports in the country.

  • Football


    As is the case with most countries, football is a popular sport in Vanuatu, so much so that the country is a member of the FIFA and OFC associations. Players mostly participate in association football. This sport is commonly known as football or soccer, where eleven players per team take part in passing a spherical ball across the field. Almost 250 million players take part in this sport globally, and Vanuatu players are no different. The Vanuatu national football team is the representative team of this country in international sports. It belongs to the OFC confederation and has Paul Munster as the head coach, and Jason Thomas as the captain. Its top scorer is Richard Iwai, and Etienne Mermer holds the most caps. This team plays at the Port Vila Municipal Stadium and currently holds the 163rd position in FIFA rankings. Compared to other technical programs present in Oceania, Vanuatu takes the lead. It was no surprise when it took part in a FIFA pilot program where young players got identified and enrolled in the national academy. The terms of the enrolment are that players aged 15-17 can take part in the selection and training. They also get considered for continuing school and vocational activities. Unfortunately, the national team is yet to qualify for the World Cup. However, they have made great strides in other competitions. They finished fourth in the OFC Nations Cup and runner up in the South Pacific Games.

  • Basketball


    There are two teams regarding this sport; one relating to men and the other relating to the women’s team. The men’s team falls under the Vanuatu Amateur Basketball Federation and represents the country in international competitions. The team has not participated in the FIBA Oceania Championship but has been in the Pacific Games and the Oceania Basketball Tournament. It joined the FIBA association back in 1966 and has since been a member, currently holding the 165th position. The women’s side also participates in international events and falls under the Vanuatu Amateur Basketball Federation. It took part in the 1981 Oceania Basketball tournament for women and also featured in the 2011 Pacific Games. It joined the FIBA association back in 1966 and falls under the FIBA Oceania zone, currently holding the 125th position worldwide. The team has no medals to date.

  • Olympic games


    Vanuatu formed the National Olympic Committee back in 1987, getting recognized for the same in that year. The country participated in the Olympic Games in the year that followed. Since then, the country has been sending athletes to the summer games every year. However, they are yet to participate in the winter sports and are yet to bag an Olympic medal to date. Up to 2016, the country had sent 31 athletes to these games.

  • Paralympic games


    This country took part in the Summer Paralympic Games for the first time in 2000, where it sent two athletes to the javelin events. In 2004, there was no participation on its part, before springing back into action in 2008. The country is yet to participate in the winter games and currently holds no medals from the summer activities.


    Commonwealth Games

    Vanuatu joined the Commonwealth back in 1980; at the same time they got their independence. They participated in commonwealth games for the first time in 1982 and have since been regulars to these activities.

Women's team Men's footballer Basketball team Olympic team Vanuatu sport

An overall

Vanuato team

While this country may not always bag a win when they participate in games, they make a point to engage in different sporting activities. Athletes are more than happy to be part of both continental and international competitions. As a result, the ni-Vanuatu readily embrace their athletes, praising them for their hard work. An example of celebrated athletes would be Henriette Latika and Miller Elwin. They have embarked on a world tour for the last decade to participate in beach volleyball. The country is home to a range of sporting events such as the round island relay where people run around the island. Additionally, there are blue marlin fishing contests, horse races, and golf open tournaments. Vanuatu also hosts some events such as the South Pacific Mini Games. Its main sporting facilities include the Korman Stadium Games Sporting complex, Lamenu Stadium, Luganville Soccer City Stadium, and Port Vila Municipal Stadium. With the optimism athletes and citizens hold dear to their hearts, the country is sure to go far regarding sporting activities. They have only just begun.