What is the football in Palau scene? Owning a travel agency means I get paid to travel, but I also have other business and leisure interests that are linked to this. Namely these are street food, the island that I run and most recently football.
The later has led me into sports journalism, but also more interestingly into the realms of management and development, principally at Angkor City FC, but also since then with Nauru. The last project here also leading to the setting up of the Nauru Soccer Federation. What will come of this is yet to be seen, but hopefully it will mean some development, something I am also keen to replicate in Palau.
The “last four”
While there are 6 UN nations that are not in FIFA, two namely Monaco and the Vatican City are not really looking to join. This leaves the 4 Pacific Island nations of Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru as the “last 4”. There is also Kiribati and Tuvalu, although both have Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Associate Membership.
Of course all four are at different levels of development, with Nauru being largely at the bottom of the pile.
So, what for football in Palau? Well you can read an article I wrote here, but I can also give a bit if background.
Football in Palau
Football in Palau would best be described as in its infancy, with the Palau Football Association being formed in 2002. Since then same games have played, but there has been no real development enough to get into FIFA.
There has though at least been a local league, although this has not currently happened since Covid, with plans for a February start this year now delayed until October with PFA Chairman Lukeson Sift telling us “The national stadium is currently being renovated, so we cannot play 11 a side until then. We are though hopeful of developing futsal if we can get the right equipment”.
Problem with Football in Palau
There are numerous problems with football, or rather soccer in Palau with the chief one being the cultural element. Palau is a quasi colony of America, which means “soccer” is low down the sports pecking order.
Secondly the country was largely made up if immigrant workers, who largely hiked develop the local football scene. These have largely not been seen since Covid-19, which has of course affected how many players available for the league.
How to develop football in Palau?
Of course there is no one size fits all here, but I certainly have some ideas. In the long-term I will hopefully be joining their board and will then try to help with tying such as raising money through selling footballs shirts, as well as hopefully then sending out a coach to the country to offer a training camp.
We as a group are also trying to set up[ a Futsal tournament that will ideally feature the 6 non-FIFA teams, although it is unlikely to happen this year.
I am though hopeful at least that when we next take a tour here, we can also show some football development.