What is happening to Tupuji Imere?

The first half of Port Vila Premier League season is over and things are not good for Tupuji Imere. Currently in the seventh position the traditional team from Vanuatu is facing a very troubled season so far.

After winning the Independence Cup on July and making the semifinals in PVFA Opening Cup, it seemed that they would be one the best teams in the country and one of the favourites to win the Port Vila Premier League but it is not what is happening.

Last Saturday they lost to Tafea by 5-2 and some details evidence that things are not going well there. Vanuatu’s legend David Chilia did not coach the team against Tafea, he was sitting with Tupuji fans in the stand. Abdul Shamin Nazreen was on the official bench for this match. Nazreen is the manager of Classic Printers, a company that sponsors Tupuji Imere. The coach Chilia could not prepare the team for the clash against Tafea due family commitments and will be back in the bench to command his side against Erakor Golden Star in the next weekend.

Tupuji Imere bench against Tafea. Source: MG Tafea Media

That is not the only problem inside the pitch: It was reported by Vanuatu Sport on 11 November that Fenedy Masauvakalo and Chikau Mansale went to work overseas for nine months and they will not play in this season anymore. Some players were already overseas when the season started like Raoul Coulon (in Australia) and there are more players that may leave the team to work overseas like Elkington Molivakarua.

One important thing that also needs to be highlighted is the current situation of James Chilia. The 18 years old player was a great goalkeeper and he was deservedly called up for 2019 Pacific Games and 2019 OFC U23 Olympic Qualifiers to represent Vanuatu as goalkeeper but he is currently playing as central defender/defensive midfielder for Tupuji. It is not every day that people see a goalkeeper leaving his position to play another role in a team. Anyway it seems that he is playing well and he already scored a goal in the season against Tafea.

James Chilia (number 24) now plays as defender or defensive midfielder

If things are not good inside the pitch, they are also bad outside: Nazreen, Tupuji Imere and the Classic Printers are also in the middle of a controversy after bringing two players from Vaum United to Tupuji Imere outside the transfer window. Galaxy FC sent a complaint to Port Vila Football Association and Vanuatu Football Federation about it and it may bring more trouble to them.

Maybe the only good news is the return of Azariah Soromon who scored his first goal in the season last Saturday against Tafea.

Tupuji Imere is currently in the seventh position of eight teams in Port Vila Premier League with four points. Mauwia is in the last position only one point behind them. If things do not improve, Tupuji may end the season tasting the flavor of a relegation.

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