Vanuatun teen eyes Central Coast Mariners breakthrough

Vanuatan footballer Nicholas King is not a name most football fans would have heard of around Australia.

The 19-year-old has already made his senior break at the age of 16 with his local club Mauriki FC and is now looking further for a potential break in the professional game after being offered a trial by A-League champions Central Coast Mariners.

Despite his age, King has already shown what it takes in the senior competition of Vanuatu and is now pushing towards a more competitive environment, one which gave fellow footballer and Vanuatu’s senior national team captain Brian Kaltak his professional breakthrough season.

The announcement was made in early December by Kaltak’s agent, Matthe Peter Nemes, and the Players Performance Project Manager, Joshua James.

King is expected to trial for two weeks starting from the following Monday which will challenge him amongst Australia’s finest.

The Port Vila youngster has already displayed his leadership and talent in Vanuatu, having been named captain for Mauriki and helping his side reach a second-place finish in the Port Vila Premier League.

He also represented and captained the Vanuatu under-23 national team during the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier in New Zealand.

PVFA President, Harry Atisson, praised King’s dedication and discipline, expressing his belief in a promising young future. Although Atisson also stated that King is not the only Vanuatu youngster being looked at from overseas.

Congratulations to Vanuatu’s Nicolas King and Solomon Islands’ Javin Wae on winning Player of the Match honours in today’s Group B action.

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— OFC Oceania Football (@OFCfootball) August 31, 2023

“Nicholas has a bright football career ahead of him, and we believe that this trial with Central Coast Mariners FC will further elevate his skills and open doors to new opportunities,” he said to Vanuatu Daily Post.

His father is currently working as a businessman, after having previously been a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Efate Rural constituency.

His mother is also a Member of Parliament, being the sixth woman ever to be elected and the first in nearly 14 years.

She was previously a former athlete for the women’s national football team and served as a football coach later on in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

His trial with the Mariners can be credited to his parents, both of whom consulted with Kaltak’s agent for a trial in Australia.

All associated fees were compensated by them and the PVFA President to ensure he is given a fair opportunity.

King is currently in Year 13 at Central School, based in Port Vila, and is expected to train with the under-23 side of Central Coast Mariners where he could receive a potential contract and playing time in the National Premier Leagues (NPL).

Like his mother and father, King can become a notable figure in Vanuatu as Kaltak has done so in his hometown of Port Vila in football.

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Only time will tell if King has what it takes to be offered a contract and become the second professional Vanuatu footballer but as of now, he is one of many to watch for in the future.

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