Brian Kaltak dreams of making history with Vanuatu at OFC Men’s Nations Cup

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Vanuatu captain Brian Kaltak insists his team is ready to write history when they meet Fiji in the OFC Nations Cup semi-finals at VFF Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila on Thursday.

The tournament hosts have never reached the final of the OFC Nations Cup and have fallen at the semi-final hurdle on three previous occasions.

Vanuatu did reach the final at the 1971 Pacific Games, still under the New Hebrides banner, losing 7-1 to New Caledonia, and did not get past the semi-finals in four other Pacific Games.

As the Vanuatu Football Federation celebrates its 90th anniversary this month, Kaltak says the timing is perfect to write a famous new chapter in the football history of the island nation.

“We believe we can write history on Thursday,” said Kaltak, who this year won the A-League title and the AFC Cup with the Central Coast Mariners.

He would love to crown a fairytale season with a spot in the OFC Nations Cup final in Port Vila.

Vanuatu’s Brian Kaltak clears from Solomon Island’s Joses Nawo. Photo credit: OFC Media / Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

The Vanuatu captain says the fanatical home crowd at VFF Freshwater Stadium can play a major role when his team plays Fiji, who have so far won all their matches in group B.

“It has been a long time since Vanuatu made it out of the group stage and made the semifinals of the Nations Cup. But for us to perform well we need the support of our fans. They give us that extra boost to perform,” said Kaltak, who is excited to be part of the first Vanuatu team to play at home in a major tournament.

“It has always been an honour to represent Vanuatu. I made my start and debut when I was 17 and it is still an honour to wear this shirt. But now to play in Vanuatu in front of everyone is an amazing feeling.”

Kaltak has gone from a relatively unknown footballer to become a national icon in a few short years, and his face is plastered on billboards all over Port Vila.

The former Auckland City defender says he had to get used to his new status but doesn’t feel it has created additional pressure on the field.

“A few years back, I would come back to Vanuatu, and hardly anyone would notice. But now it’s different because I have made it this far. I have become an inspiration for a lot of people, and everyone wants a piece of me,” explains the captain, who admits the demands from the community can at times be overwhelming.

“Most of the time, I don’t mind it, but at times, it does reach a point where I get a bit tired of it. But it is what it is, and I love that people enjoy my success.”

Vanuatu qualified for the semi-finals after beating the Solomons Islands, 1-0, and gave a good account of themselves in their 4-0 defeat to New Zealand in front of a sell-out crowd.

“Against New Zealand, the atmosphere was just crazy. They are the powerhouse in the Oceania region and the boys were buzzing because it is not every day we play against New Zealand.”

With history at stake, Kaltak hopes the “12th man” at Freshwater Stadium can tip the scales in their favour if the match hangs in the balance.

“The crowds made a huge difference in the other games, and I am looking forward to seeing that same crowd in the semis.”


We are grateful for the help of OFC Media in providing this story.

Watch Brian Kaltak’s interview


Games to be played on Thursday June 27, 2024


New Zealand v Tahiti
VFF Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 12pm (NZT)

READ MORE: All Whites to face Tahiti in Thursday’s semi-finals at OFC Men’s Nations Cup >>>>

Fiji v Vanuatu
VFF Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 4pm (NZT)

Games to be played on Sunday June 30, 2024

Play-off for third place

Loser semi-final 1 v loser semi-final 2
VFF Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 12pm (NZT)


Winner semi-final 1 v winner semi-final 2
VFF Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 4pm (NZT)

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