Auckland City defender to captain Vanuatu at World Cup qualifiers

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Auckland City’s Brian Kaltak will captain Vanuatu at the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament in Qatar.

The 28-year-old central defender, who has played 20 internationals since his debut in 2011, heads a 25-strong Vanuatu squad named to contest the eight-nation tournament that runs from March 18-31.

It’s Kaltak’s third World Cup campaign and caps a career that’s seen him play for New Zealand clubs Waterside Karori, Tasman United and Auckland City, for whom he’s played about 50 games since moving to Kiwitea St in 2018.

Most of the Vanuatu squad play for domestic clubs but midfielder Mitch Cooper plays for Hume City (Melbourne) and Jared Clark for Croydon FC (Adelaide).

Kaltak on his home turf of Kiwitea Street. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

World Cup schedule

Vanuatu open their campaign against Tahiti in Group A, before taking on the Solomon Islands and Cook Islands.

Many of the Cook Islands players play for Lotto NRFL or other regional teams in New Zealand.

Click here for more about the Cook Islands team >>>>

New Zealand play in Group B, with Fiji, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea.

Click here to see which well-known players will face New Zealander at the qualifiers >>>>

The winner of the Oceania qualifying tournament will have a one-match showdown with whichever nation has finished fourth in the North & Central American and Caribbean qualifiers.

Click here for update on who is most likely to qualify from CONCACAF >>>>

Vanuatu squad

Goalkeepers: Jamies IAMAR (Tafea FC), Dgen LEO (Classic FC), Massing KALOTANG (Erakor Golden Star FC). Defenders: Brian KALTAK (Auckland City FC), Junior FELIX (North Efate United FC), Jared CLARK (Croydon Kings FC), Tasso JEFFREY (Galaxy FC), Timothy BOULET (Ifira Black Bird FC), Alphonse LENCY (Ifira Black Bird FC), Lency PHILIP (Galaxy FC), Jesse KALOPONG (Erakor Golden Star FC), Tom SAKSAK (Yatel FC). Midfielders: Ronaldo WILKINS (Tafea FC) Claude ARU (North Efate United FC), Mitch COOPER (Hume City FC), Barry MANSALE (Galaxy FC), Bethuel OLLIE (Yatel FC), Jayson BULE (North Efate United FC), Jacky RUBEN (Erakor Golden Star FC), John WOHALE (Ifira Black Bird FC). Forwards: Kensi TANGIS (Galaxy FC), Edwin BAI (North Efate United FC), Andre BATICK (Galaxy FC), Jordy TASIP (Ifira Black Bird FC), Reginold RAVO (Malampa Revivors FC). Coach: Etienne Mermer