Former Auckland City defender Brian Kaltak has been honoured in his home nation of Vanuatu with a National Honour Second Class Medal after his successful year in international and A-League football.
Kaltak (29) received the medal from Vanuatu President Nikinike Vurobaravu.
The medal recognises Kaltak’s achievements which included him becoming the first Pacific Islander to win the biggest prize in domestic Australian football, as a member of Central Coast Mariners’ A-League winning team.
Internationally, Kaltak played three games for Vanuatu this year, including a 1-0 win against Mongolia, playing in India.
Kaltak’s career has been proof that persistence can pay off.
It took him 10 years of trying before he landed his first professional contract at the age of 28, signing a two-year deal with the Mariners in June last year.
The contract was extended this year, keeping him at the club till at least 2025.
Kaltak’s football career began with the Vanuatu Football Federation’s academy at Teouma before he joined his hometown club, Erakor Golden Star FC.
He moved to New Zealand where he played for Waterside Karori, Tasman United and Auckland City, for whom he played about 50 games after moving to Kiwitea St in 2018.
He left Auckland City in 2022 and unsuccessfully trialled with the Wellington Phoenix before crossing the Tasman in search of an A-League deal.