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Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC

International Cup 2008

The world’s smallest island nation, Nauru will field a full team at this year’s International Cup. Australian football is the most popular sport on the South Pacific island, and Nauruans are renowned for their passion for the game. Like many Aboriginal communities in Australia, it is not uncommon for children in Nauru to be named after well-known footballers. According to Mathew Batsiua, the country’s Minister for Sport and one of the people behind the effort to get Nauru to the International Cup, “There’s at least one Jesaulenko bearing that Christian name here and you’ll even find a local Akermanis in our community”. The Chiefs' were one of eleven sides at the inaugural International Cup in 2002, finishing eighth. They were a late withdrawal from the 2005 tournament, and doubt had been cast over their involvement this year.

Batsiua revealed that as of May, players will spend time in Melbourne with VCFL clubs “to help them achieve top match fitness ahead of the August event”. Our Airline, the new trading name from Air Nauru, has agreed to provide air travel for 22 players and three officials, and the AFL has allowed Nauru's team kit to feature Our Airline’s logo. In further positive news for Nauruan football, the AFL is apparently considering conducting coaching and umpiring clinics, and reestablishing a revamped national football competition on the island.

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Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Ash Nugent on Friday, April 18 2008 @ 10:18 pm ACST
It was even reported on in the Solomon Star.
Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, April 18 2008 @ 11:15 pm ACST

A picture of some of the Chiefs in the AFL's story: http://www.afl.com.au/News/NewsArticle/tabid/208/Default.aspx?newsId=58045

They look like they mean business. With some time in the VCFL before-hand to get some match fitness (they haven't had regular competition for a while due to issues within Nauru), it will be interesting to see if they can get a few wins.

Pleasing to hear the AFL may help out getting their domestic league going again, from previous discussions with people over there, it sounds like they just need some direction to establish respect for umpires and players to stamp out some violence issues.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: conyers on Saturday, April 19 2008 @ 09:33 am ACST

It will be interesting to see if the AFL do split the comp into 2 different divisions as to where they put Nauru. If they get put into Div 2 I could imagine them thrashing each team by 100 points and if they are in Div 1 they will be competitive.
At he 2002 int cup they thrashed Japan by over 100 points and lost their reminding matches in very close contests, at one stage they looked like beating PNG.

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Saturday, April 19 2008 @ 04:09 pm ACST

It's hard to tell... From what I remember of them in 2002 they were alright,
but didn't have the same skills or pace as PNG. That's 6 years ago though.

The IC will almost certainly be in two divisions, but the split will be tough.
Nauru would probably be at the weaker end of division 1, or the top of
division 2. It would probably make a difference that a few key players will
come over early and play country footy, but the collapse of the domestic
comp has to have hurt their standard.

South Africa might be in the same basket, but I'd expect the development
staff involved would want them in division 1. They improved a lot between
2002 and 2005 though, maybe they'll give a few div 1 teams a scare.

Sweden or Tonga could also go either way.

Finland, Japan, China, India, Spain and/or Catalonia would probably be
division 2 sides.

If five out of those six make it, who else would you put in division 2 with

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: conyers on Monday, April 21 2008 @ 09:22 am ACST

I think the AFL should not have 2 divisions, rather they should have 4 groups of 4. With teams seeded to separate the best and also seperate teams from the same regions just like they do in the FIFA world cup.
If you look at the state of football around the world it is not hard to work out the seeds from the rest.
You would have the top seeds:
New Zealand, PNG, USA, Ireland
2nd Seeds:
Samoa, Denmark, Great Britain, Canada
3rd Seeds:
South Africa, Japan, Nauru, Sweden
Bottom Seeds:
Finland, India, China, Israel/ Palestine
Then if you do the draw you would have groups such as:
Group 1:New Zealand, Great Britain,South Africa, China
Group 2:PNG, Canada, SwedenI, srael/ Palestine
Group 3:Ireland, Samoa, Japan, Finland
Group 4:USA, Denmark, Nauru, India
Top 2 teams from each group would go to the quaret finals, then teams who finish 3rd in each group form their own group for classification matches as do teams who finish 4th.
The advantage of this is each team still gets to compete against the best and worst, still has a chance to win the comp. Of course you will have some games which are one sided but you had that at the first 2 cups anyway and at least by putting the best with the worst the developing nations can gadge their progress and determine what needs to be done next time to improve.

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Monday, April 21 2008 @ 06:32 pm ACST

To be honest, I don't agree with this at all. I don't think there's anything to
be gained by leaving China to get thumped by PNG by 300 points in a pool

By my reckoning, more than 50% of the games would be slaughters of this
magnitude, I reckon you're underestimating the gap between the best and
the worst.

In a two-division structure, the games will be far more even. You might get
one or two blowouts (ie is 1st plays 8th in a given division), but not to the
extent of what you're proposing where every second game would put
someone from the front pack against someone from the relative newbies.

See US Nationals for details.

Not perfect, but I definitely believe a divisional structure is the better option.

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: conyers on Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 09:31 am ACST

I do agree that the bottom teams in each group would get thrashed as when you look at the 16 teams that have confimed participation 12 of them look like they should be competitive and the other are very new to the game and in the perfect world probably would not be competiting and would be doing what Germany decided to do and focus on the domestic competition.
If the AFL does go with the 2 divisions then I think that it would be a great idea to have the bottom 2 teams from Div 1 then play off against the top 2 teams from Div 2. By doing this you could have promotion and relegation or just use it to propaly determine classifications. If the top 2 teams from Div 2 win then they could then qualify for Div 1 next time and if they loose they could stay in Div 2.

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Niels Schønnemann on Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 09:06 pm ACST

I have thought about the relagation myself, but have come to the conclusion that a teams position in 2012 should be decided in 2008 is too big a gap. Four years is lot of time to improve (or weaken) and so, just because 1 team lost a game in 2008, they might play against far weaker oppositiion four years later is not the way to go.

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, April 24 2008 @ 01:58 pm ACST

I think the AFL will have little choice but to go for a roughly 8 and 8 split. I don't think most of the lower/newer teams even want to compete against the top sides. Even with the shortened games that are played, certainly 150+ point thrashings would be on the cards.

If there was a real push from the best of the lower 8 teams, saying they were very keen to still be in the mix with the top 8, then maybe it would be worth pursuing, but last we heard, there were plenty of takers for the development division, so not likely to be an issue. Probably the biggest issue remains locking in exactly which countries will attend.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Doubt cast aside - Nauru to field full team at IC
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, April 26 2008 @ 12:34 am ACST

Apparently even 4 groups of 4 hasn't been ruled out either. All up in the air until all the countries actually lock in as attending. I guess the AFL wants to give them as long as possible to make a final decision, but presumably a hard deadline must be fast approaching, but even then it's no guarantee a team simply won't make it anyway. Such are the tribulations of amateur sport.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN