Rothesay Saint wrote:Football in Oceania is something I could really get into if only there were more hours in the day,
Somebody somewhere has cocked up pretty badly though inviting Micronesia in to the tournament when they are a few years away from being ready. It has certainly added some media interest to a tournament almost no-one would have known about otherwise though.
Yeah, that is one positive - suddenly people realised there is more to Oceania than just New Zealand. It has also demonstrated the vast differences in standard in the region. NZ plus the Melanesian nations are the strongest (and where football is popular) while the Polynesian nations, with the exception of Tahiti are quite weak (but decent at rugby e.g. Samoa, Tonga). NZ's Maori are also Polynesians.
As for Micronesia, this is what Wikipedia has re demographics:
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The indigenous population of the nation, which is predominantly Micronesian, consists of various ethnolinguistic groups. It has a nearly 100% Pacific Islander and Asian population. Chuukese 48.8%, Pohnpeian 24.2%, Kosraean 6.2%, Yapese 5.2%, Yap outer islands 4.5%, Asian 1.8%, Polynesian 1.5%, other 6.4%, unknown 1.4%. A sizeable minority also have some Japanese ancestry, which is a result of intermarriages between Japanese settlers and Micronesians during the Japanese colonial period.
There is also growing expatriate population of Americans, Australians, Europeans, and residents from China and the Philippines since the 1990s. English has become the common language of the government, and for secondary and tertiary education. Outside of the main capital towns of the four FSM states, the local languages are primarily spoken. Population growth remains high at more than 3% annually, offset somewhat by net emigration. Pohnpei is notable for the prevalence of the extreme form of color blindness known as maskun.
Note the interesting usage of the term expatriate
There is hope for the islands though. Guam is strictly speaking a Micronesian nation, and recently have shown great improvement, beating Turkmenistan and India.
(Guam as a territory of the United States is not part of the Federated States of Micronesia).
Rothesay Saint wrote:It's pretty confusing who is qualifying for what though. Tahiti and New Caledonia are part of France so can't have an Olympic team, but are members (or associate members of FIFA, right?)
Yes -- it's actually not too dissimilar to what happens in Europe, with the nations that make up the UK. If Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and England all managed to qualify for the U21 Euro Championship finals (8 teams take part in the finals) it would get pretty confusing as well as that tournament doubles as the Olympic qualifiers.
Indeed, even with only England qualifying, there have been occasions when a play-off was required (well, I can think of one only, but perhaps there were other occurrences)
See here for more
Rothesay Saint wrote:By the way, what makes you think New Zealand v Vanuatu might get ugly? I thought Vanuatu were one of the strongest countries in the region, or at least their league is with teams like Amicale.
It will be physical, I think but you are right, it might be a close match. Vanuatu don't have the Pacific Games medal matches as a consolation, as they finished behind Tahiti and Fiji in their group. They will throw the kitchen sink at it.