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Vanuatu Volleyball Federation is pleased to announce the appointment of a new senior national beach volleyball coach, with a big year ahead as a return to international competition looms.

The delayed appointment has been made following the departure of former coach Michel Bargmann who sadly departed in April last year, due to the emerging global pandemic and the need for him to return to Germany with his young family.

With that loss and the onset of border closures plus the cancellation of international sporting fixtures, the national team continued to train through the year with just local and in-house coaching support.

VVF was able to finally secure the appointment of Federica Tonon late last year, on a 12-month contract, with the support of the FIVB as a part of its coaching support program for national teams.

But due to coronavirus restrictions and protocols in both Europe and Vanuatu, all parties had to wait to confirm her travel arrangements.

Tonon arrived from Italy in early March and spent her first two weeks in Vanuatu secluded in hotel quarantine, which ended late last week.

She has represented Italy on the international volleyball stage but has also been taking on coaching roles over the past 20 years.

With a list of impressive credentials, not only does she coach beach volleyball, but is also the Team Manager for the Italian Junior Indoor volleyball team and is the captain of the National Snow volleyball team.

Ready to embark on her adventure with the Vanuatu women’s squad, Tonon is fully aware her time in preparing the team is limited, with key international tournaments already conditionally scheduled for June.

We don’t have too much time left to prepare (so) we need to plan well these months with a meticulous preparation,” she said.

 The highest priority on the calendar will be the final qualifier for Tokyo2020 Olympics which the team was set to compete in last June, following their victory over New Zealand in March 2020 in the Olympic regional qualifier for Oceania.

Over the past 12 months, VVF has kept the players busy with ongoing training as well as visits to various schools and communities around the islands, promoting playing sport and the importance of physical activity for girls as well as boys.

VVF President Debbie Masauvakalo is pleased there will be forward movement for the team this year, in terms of the return to international competition, and that Tonon has arrived to coach them through what will hopefully be a busy and successful schedule.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Federica. She has a strong volleyball and coaching background and will bring a fresh perspective to the program in preparation for the upcoming competitions,” she said.

“It’s been a hard year for both the team and all of Vanuatu, despite not actually having COVID here, and having the girls get back on the court representing the nation will hopefully bring some much-needed joy.”

All Hands In’ – Team Vanuatu

For Tonon, the challenge will be to quickly become familiar with the team and the important role it plays in representing Vanuatu and the Pacific region.                                              I’m extremely excited about working with the girls and I’m thrilled with the idea that from these small islands, we can stand up in the world and make an impact for the younger generation of Vanuatu.”

VVF would also like to thank VASANOC and the key sponsors who having unfailingly continued their support of Vanuatu Volleyball over these trying times.

Titan FX and P&O Cruises Australia have been loyal and steadfast, along with ACE Optics (Sunglasses) and Project Clothing and the new member of the family Vanuatu Beverages Limited.