To say that football in Nauru has been somewhat lacking would be an understatement, but if plans put forth by my good self and a few other interested parties then this could be about to change.
You can read about the launch of the Nauru Soccer Federation here.
As thongs stand though Nauru is one of the handful of United Nations states that are not members of FIFA, nor their regional body, in this case the Oceania Football Confederation.
What makes Nauru even more unique though is that it has never even played any kind of representative match, nor even had any form of league in the country, save a “fake” one we uncovered a few years ago.
Which raises the question, why?
Why is football not popular in Nauru?
Nauru as a nation is rather small (13,000) and has been heavily influenced by Australia. This has meant the country being the only one in the world where Aussie Rules is the national sport.
This has led to other codes, such as Rugby Union, Rugby League and soccer struggling in Nauru, with the former having some involvement at least. This has essentially led to little to no exposure, as well as no pitches, nor the right equipment….
The Nauru Soccer Federation
There has though been some effort to kick start football in Nauru, principally from 3 main actors, Kaz Kain, current President of the Federation, Paul Watson, who has immense expertise in this area, as well as myself Gareth Johnson link to garethjohnson.net. Aside from travel I have also worked in both professional and developmental soccer.
Our recent handshake will mean that not only will I sit on the board for Nauru Soccer, but will have an active roll in developing the game in the country.
Why are we doing this?
While not completely a YPT project, Young Pioneer Tours actually do a lot of work that would fall into the corporate responsibility “theme” and we genuinely do n want to help with development.
In Nauru this could lead to the game being developed, something that will undoubtedly help with the nations obesity problem, but we hope at least also help give the country a better image abroad.
Many people still associate (unfairly) the small state with the refugees from Australia, but it should be remembered this was not only not their idea, but tat in actuality they behaved as perfect hosts.
You can see Nauru yourself on our next tour and hopefully maybe even watch a football match, or at least buy a shirt….