President of the Vanuatu Teqball Federation, Stephen Silas, has a passion for teqball, and, in addition to leading the fast-growing federation, he is also an avid player. Under the guidance of Silas, the federation has made great progress since it was established in 2019, including its doubles team finishing in 6th place at the Asia-Pacific Teqball Beach Cup last year.
Looking back at the first time he experienced the sport, Silas recalled, “We were students at the University of New Caledonia (UNC) when we first discovered teqball as a new sport discipline.” The strong presence of both football and futsal in the country resulted in the organic rise of teqball, with members of the UNC futsal team at the core of the sport’s growth in Vanuatu. As Silas notes, the natural fit of the sport in the country “led to Vanuatu becoming the second Melanesian to officially introduce teqball as a sporting discipline.”
Since the establishment of the federation, impressive progress has been made in all areas. Reflecting on the evolution of the sport, Silas outlined the importance of hard work and a team effort.
“All the recent development of teqball in Vanuatu is the result of hard work. There is widespread passion for sport in our country, especially amongst young people, who have contributed in many ways to the success of teqball.”
On the administrative side, Silas is working hard to seek recognition for the Teqball Federation under the VASANOC (Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee). To achieve this, Silas has to ensure the federation has a fully functional administrative structure in place and is active in implementing teqball programmes throughout the country.
Official recognition from VASANOC is one of Silas’ key objectives for the remainder of 2020, in addition to finding new players and bringing the sport to new people across Vanuatu. Development programmes will be an important part of raising the profile of teqball, with Silas noting “it is our future plan to invest in our human resources to grow teqball in Vanuatu.”
However, like many countries, Silas explains how COVID-19 has been a temporary roadblock for this progress.
“To be honest, we didn’t really have any teqball activity for two months during lockdown. As of now, we are COVID free and are trying our best to ensure each player follows the guidelines and takes responsibility to wash their hands regularly with soap.”
As the sport continues to grow globally, ambassadors from football to Hollywood have played an important role in spreading awareness of teqball. For Silas, the perfect ambassadors in Vanuatu would be two former French football stars.
“I would say that Christian Karembeu would be a fun football and celebrity personality to spread teqball in the country. Vanuatu loves the French team, so William Gallas would be perfect too!”
Words from fiteq.org