Vanuatu youngster on trial in England
THE Vanuatu Football Federation has announced that one of its rising stars has been offered a chance to play in England.
Seventeen-year-old Jean Emmanuel Maleb, better known as Victor Maleb, was part of the Otago Youth team that recently took part in the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
After impressing for the New Zealand side, he remained in the United Kingdom to trial with the Southampton Football Academy in England.
The trial is for two weeks and, if he does well, he could be offered a contract with the club.
According to VFF technical director Carlos Buzzetti, two of his academy players had gone to the UK with Otago, the other being midfielder Charlie Ligo.
Interest in the boys came before they even arrived with several clubs having indicated an earlier interest in assisting the VFF by providing opportunities for their elite youngsters.
Maleb is considered the cream of the crop in Buzzetti's talented ensemble of locally trained talent that for the past two years has held its own against the Australian and New Zealand youth national teams in Oceania and FIFA Qualifying Tournaments.
Maleb, a striker, is a prolific goal scorer with raw speed and the ability to thread his way through defences with his dribbling skills, his main strengths.
At the Milk Cup, Maleb was one of the brighter lights for Otago in a very competitive environment.
Against glamour club Manchester United, he gave their defenders a torrid time before coming off injured after a typical scything run up the middle.
Says Buzzetti in a media statement from the VFF: "He was stamped on the foot by their defenders because he was too quick, and they had to stop him somehow... but that is the kind of thing that can happen when you play at that level of football."
"He is being treated for the injured foot, and should join the training program in the following week.
"The camp at the academy will soon end, and only then will they announce those who will stay on to play for the club."
If he is successful in gaining a contract, he will become Vanuatu's second overseas based national player following in the footsteps of Vanuatu international midfielder, Seimata Chilia, who is currently playing in the Victoria State Federation premier league with the Fawkner Blues club in Australia.
Victor comes from Vao Island off east Malakula in Vanuatu. He plays for the Amical Football Club in the Port Vila Football League Premier Division.
Both Victor and Charlie missed the chance to make the senior national team debuts at the recent South Pacific Games because of their commitments at the Milk Cup.
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