Auckland City have added a Vanuatu international, Timothy Boulet, to their first-team squad ahead of next month’s FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
Boulet (24) signed for the Navy Blues on the June 30 transfer deadline day but has arrived in New Zealand in early November to play for his new club.
The seven-cap centre-back came to Auckland City’s attention in May when he played for Vanuatu champion club Ifira Black Bird at the OFC Champions League tournament in Port Vila.
Boulet was sent off in Ifira’s semi-final against Auckland City, won by the New Zealand champions in a penalty shootout after the sides were deadlocked 2-2 after extra time.
Auckland City head coach Albert Riera said Boulet “caught his eye” when watching video footage of Ifira’s qualifying games for the OFC Champions League.
“He’s a centre-back, he can play right back,” Riera told Auckland City’s social media channel.
Riera said Boulet was fast, positionally aware and has confidence with the ball.
“He’s an exciting player. He’s a fantastic lad.”
Boulet’s move to Auckland City has been seen as a boost for Vanuatu football.
Main photo: Timothy Boulet makes a tackle for Ifira Black Bird. Photo: Kirk Corrie / Phototek.
‘We are immensely proud of him’
Ifira president Manu Laban told the Daily Post:
“This is the first time a player has been selected to participate in the club, and he is also the first player from our country to be part of the World Cup Championship. We are immensely proud of him representing our nation.”
Boulet’s mother, Cana Masie, told the Daily Post her son had overcome adversity after losing his father at a young age, and he had dropped out of school in the 10th grade.
Seeing his passion for football, she had encouraged him to follow his dream.
“I am a proud mom because what I was telling them, or encouraging the boys to do, has now come to fruition,” she said.
“I am happy for his achievement, and I am proud that my son will be representing his country overseas.”
Boulet, whose previous clubs include Malampa United FC, Malampa Revivers FC and, Shepherds FC, says he has his sights set on helping Vanuatu qualify for the FIFA Men’s World Cup.