Scholarship recipient, Ruth Nako, starred for Tafea in their impressive campaign at the national secondary school games in August.
The Vanuatu Cricket Association has identified six exceptionally talented cricketers from its outreach programs in Tanna and Santo, granting them a golden opportunity to further develop their skills in a high-performance environment. These six cricketers will also have the chance to pursue their education through scholarships provided by colleges and vocational centres in Port Vila.
This initiative stems from the resounding success of the Splashe National Youth Championships in 2022, which motivated the VCA to introduce six full-time scholarships for players under the age of 19, enabling them to come to Port Vila for both educational and cricketing advancement.
This year's national secondary school games played a pivotal role in advancing this cause. It allowed four teams from all of the VCA's outreach centers to travel to Port Vila, where they competed in front of national coaches and development staff. In addition to provincial championship victories, these teams were informed that scholarships were on offer for the best-performing individuals, who would have the opportunity to trial for the Vanuatu national men's and women's U19 teams via college tuition.
Ronald Tari, National U19 Head Coach, expressed his optimism about the return of scholarships for youth in the outreach programs, believing it will significantly bolster national representation. He stated, "I'm extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to assess the talent available to us in our outreach programs. It's often challenging to gauge our progress due to the geographical distance between the islands. However, with events like the national championships and the national secondary school games, we can evaluate and scout players, enabling us to offer scholarships based on merit to the cream of the crop from each outreach center."
Tari emphasized the importance of scholarships as a selection and high-performance development tool, adding, "All these players will also be part of the pre-squad for both the U19 Women's and Men's teams, which are gearing up for World Cup Qualifiers next year."
With the U19 Men's and Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier scheduled for early 2024, each scholarship recipient is guaranteed a spot in the 20-person preliminary squads leading into the tournament and its selection process.
In the men's category, TAFEA has secured scholarships for one individual, Joshiah Lendal, while SANMA has earned scholarships for two more talented cricketers, Waane Sirovulu & Justin Sarginson.
In the women's segment, SANMA has achieved scholarships for two players, Suzanne Bani & Selinda Revi, whilst TAFEA proudly boasts an additional representative, Ruth Nako.
The VCA extends its heartfelt congratulations to these six cricketers for their outstanding performances in the national championships, which have earned them this well-deserved opportunity. The association also expresses its gratitude to the provincial governments for their valuable assistance in hosting events and for their continued partnership with the VCA's development initiatives.