Just before the FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament, Robert Vautrin, the president of the New Caledonia Federation, spoke with the journalist of the newspaper "Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes". He spoke about every aspects of basketball in the country: Local leagues, National teams, Federation goals for the future and relation with the World. A great way to fully understand the state of the game in New Caledonia.
Source: Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes
The basketball season is coming to an end in New Caledonia... how many player are there in the country?
As we speak, we have more than 800 licensed player with more than 300 players under 16 year old. They are playing in the five South Province teams (JSVDT, MDBC, SSI, ASRS and As6km) and in the five North Province teams (AS Tiebagi, Voh Basket, Kone BC, AS Nepoui and Poindimie). I'm glad to say that more people will come and we should have 1000 licensed players at the end of the year.
Basketball is not played at all in the Loyalty Islands (a couple of islands near the mainland), Why?
That's one of my greatest regret. The first reason is the school system, the school coaches are teaching football and volley-ball because they don't really know our sport. The second reason is transport because of the fares of the flight tickets. The last reason is that our sports' rules are not easy to learn, and they are changinf really fast.
How about a technical manager to improve the game in these islands and in the North Province?
Unfortunatly, this kind of job will not be filled tomorrow. On the sport level, we are having great results, the men team won the Gold medal in the Oceania in Suva (2001), in the South Pacific Games (2003) and in the Mini-Games in Palau (2005). But it seems this is not enough for the governement. We do have the support of the french federation but we are lacking a national recokgnition. We needs four peoples but we can't fill the job position for now...
Do we really need a technical manager?
Of course! Only a technical manager can bring more licensed player, can scout and teach the game to the youngsters. We also need to teach the game to the team's manager and coach. A technical manager would be able to relaunch teams like Yate, Thio and Bourail. For example, the youngsters of Houaillou are the School League champions but there is not a club there. We need a manager to help our sport to grow.
On the sport level, what was the best memory of your presidency?
Without a doubt the Gold medal we won in the South-Pacific Games in Suva (2003). Before that, the men team won the Gold in the Oceania Tournament (2001) and after that the team won the Gold again in the Mini-Games in Palau (2005). Work is paying off, this is a great news before the next Games.
Talking about the next Games, winning the Gold will be the goal of the team?
Of course, especially if we can get our three players who are living in France: Rodrigue Tetainanuarii, who is playing in the french second pro league, Raymond Weber and Emmanuel Soeria wjo are playing in the third league. If these players would be available, we will have a beautiful team. We also have a lor of youngsters who could be playing in France but without a technical manager, it's hard to scout and identify the best prospects.
What about the Women National team?
We also have a great team who was third in Suva, the team will be playing for the Silver medal in Samoa in 2007 led by Soana Lucet, who made a great season with AS6km.
In the national league, the Territorial Championship came to an end. How do you explain the domination of JSVDT in the Men league and of AS6km in the Women league?