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President welcomes T20 Cricket World Cup to Vanuatu as Pacific teams prepare for crucial qualifier

His Excellency Nikenike Vurobaravu, President of the Republic of Vanuatu with the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu National Men's Team with the T20 World Cup Trophy on Wednesday.

The Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) was honoured to have His Excellency Nikenike Vurobaravu, President of the Republic of Vanuatu unveil the Men's T20 World Cup Trophy on Wednesday at Independence Park, only two days before play gets underway in the T20 World Cup Pacific Qualifier.

As the final stop on a journey which has seen the trophy visit 35 different locations in 13 countries across four continents the Men's T20 World Cup Trophy Tour - driven by Nissan, started in Melbourne on July 8, and made stops in Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Namibia, Singapore, and Vanuatu for the first time ever.

Thursday saw the trophy tour the sights of Efate Island visiting the Blue Lagoon, Mele Cascades, Vanuatu Zipline and Mele Beach to name a few, before it was put on public display at the waterfront in the late afternoon.

Fans can still get a glimpse of the trophy and have their photograph taken with the World Cup in the public area of the Vanuatu Cricket Ground at Korman during the opening match of the Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier between Vanuatu and Fiji, which gets underway at 9am on Friday 9 September.

Amongt a raft of VIPs, also in attendance at the ceremony was the Minister for Youth Development & Sport, the Australian High Commissioner, Acting British High Commissioner, Superindent of Police and representatives from the NZ Government, VASANOC and other key sponsors and partners of Vanuatu Cricket.

Her Excellency Heidi Bootle, the Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu said during her speech on Wednesday:

"I’m so pleased to be joining you all to celebrate cricket today, a sport that brings people of all cultures together.

"The Australia-Vanuatu cricket partnership spans over a decade: from supporting the inimitable Women’s Island Cricket program to our Appeal Against Violence partnership with Vanuatu Cricket Association and World Vision.

"This partnership shows what can be achieved when we harness our shared love of sport as a vehicle for social change.

"There is so much potential for cricket in Vanuatu, and I look forward to the day when one of Vanuatu’s national cricket teams brings an ICC trophy home.

"Best of luck to all Pacific family teams competing in the T20 qualifier."

Looking ahead to the event starting on Friday, Tim Cutler, Vanuatu Cricket CEO highlighted the importance of the tournament for all participants: “As a result of a recent change to the qualifying pathways by the ICC, our East Asia Pacific region now has a guaranteed berth at the Men's T20 World Cup form 2024 onward. "This means our Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu National Men’s Cricket Team, along with Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa are only two steps away from a ticket to the main event to be hosted by USA nd the West Indies in two years' time. “We encourage everyone to come along to the Vanuatu Cricket Ground near Korman to cheer on their national men's team, and also to support our Pacific siblings, especially since this will be the first international sport to be hosted in the country since COVID-19." ICC Men's T20 World Cup EAP A (Pacific) Qualifier Tournmanet schedule: FRI 9 SEP 9.00am: Vanuatu v Fiji 1.30pm: Samoa v Cook Islands SAT 10 SEP 9.00am: Fiji v Cook Islands 1.30pm: Vanuatu v Samoa SUN 11 SEP 9.00am: Vanuatu v Cook Islands 1.30pm: Fiji v Samoa MON 12 SEP - REST DAY TUE 13 SEP 9.00am: Cook Islands v Samoa 1.30pm: Vanuatu v Fiji WED 14 SEP 9.00am: Samoa v Vanuatu 1.30pm: Cook Islands v Fiji THU 15 SEP 9.00am: Samoa v Fiji 1.30pm: Vanuatu v Cook Islands Single round robin - top team progresses to regional final.

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