A-Leagues Life: You need to hear the song four Vanuatu artists have released about Brian Kaltak

Welcome to A-Leagues Life, where KEEPUP brings you all the latest news and goings on at your club. This is how the week is shaping up across the A-Leagues and beyond.

‘Brick Wall of Gosford’

In his first season with Central Coast Mariners, Brian Kaltak not only won an Isuzu UTE A-League Championship but he inspired an entire nation.

So much so that he now has his own song.

Before season 2022-23, Kaltak had never played professional football. In fact the 29-year-old is the first ever player developed by Vanuatu to play professionally.

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His story captured the imagine of his homeland, with the Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau, in the stands at CommBank Stadium to watch Kaltak and the Mariners beat Melbourne City 6-1 in the Grand Final earlier this month.

Now, Vanuatu artists Kymvn J3h, Robin Andrew, Tujah and Mantis have come together to create a song, titled ‘Brick Wall of Gosford‘. It is a song highlighting the country’s pride and it also references Kaltak’s speed like Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Since the Grand Final, Kaltak has reunited with his Vanuatu teammates to play in the Intercontinental Cup in India.

After the 164th-ranked Vanuatu national team lost 3-0 to Lebanon, who are 99th in the FIFA standings, they went up against another AFC side in the form of India.

India, who are 63 spots better off than Oceania’s Vanuatu, edged Kaltak’s side 1-0 on matchday two. Vanuatu will close out the tournament against Mongolia on Thursday night.

“As a team coming from Oceania we don’t, we never play an Asian team in terms of national teams, but we set a strategy to see, to play, to study how we face this team. If you understand our strategy, it’s more about defending. We wait until the right moment we can go forward,” said head coach Etienne Merme via the Vanuatu Football Federation.

“We have to play to give our best and to play for our country also. The most important thing I can say is that we are here to change our FIFA ranking. This is one of our objectives in this tournament, but we will continue to play until we finish.

“Last match is with Mongolia and I believe we will continue to play good football. If lucky we will beat Mongolia in the last game.”

A Socceroo retires

Western Sydney Wanderers defender Rhys Williams has retired from professional football.

Williams joined the Wanderers in July 2021 but he was limited to just six appearances before rupturing his hamstring tendon.

The 34-year-old and 14-time Socceroo also played for Perth Glory (2016-17) and Melbourne Victory (2017-18), having made a name for himself at Middlesbrough in England.

He spent nine years with Boro, where he was also captain of the club in the Championship.

When he returned to Australia, Williams joined the Glory in 2016 and was part of the squad that reached the Semi Finals under Kenny Lowe.

The following season Williams joined Kevin Muscat’s Victory and won the Championship.

Mak is back with Slovakia

After his performances in the previous international window and his exploits for Sydney FC in the Isuzu UTE A-League, Robert Mak has been named in Slovakia’s squad for their UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers against Iceland and Liechtenstein.

In March, Mak not only made his first international appearance since November 2021, but he also scored against Bosnia.

It was his first goal for the national team in two years and the 32-year-old has been called up again by Francesco Calzona for the June 18 clash against Iceland and the fixture with Liechtenstein three days later.

Slovakia are second in Group J, two points behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal through two games.

In his debut season with Sydney, Mak scored 10 goals and supplied two assists as Steve Corica’s side reached the Semi Finals.

He was also awarded Sydney FC’s Isuzu UTE A-League Player of the Year award at the recent Sky Blue Ball.

Volpato on the move?

Former Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers youngster Cristian Volpato has been learning from Jose Mourinho at Serie A giants Roma, but he has been linked with a transfer.

Sydney-born Volpato, who rejected a call-up from Socceroos boss Graham Arnold for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar, has been at Roma since 2021.

Represented by Italian legend Francesco Totti, the 19-year-old has impressed Mourinho and made 14 appearances in all competitions across the past two seasons.

However, Volpato is reportedly keen for more game time.

GOAL reports Sassuolo have agreed a €9million ($14.3million) fee for the Italy youth international, though the player is apparently unconvinced by the move.

The report adds Volpato fears he would not be given ample playing time within the rotations of Sassuolo head coach Alessio Dionisi.

Former Victory player in World Cup contention

Remember Sarah Rowe… The AFLW player who spent time at Melbourne Victory in the Liberty A-League last season?

Well, she is on the standby list to represent the Republic of Ireland at next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The 27-year-old made three appearances for Victory in January before leaving, having arrived from Collingwood in the AFLW.

If she was to make it into the Ireland squad, it would mean a return to Australia for the World Cup.

And, Ireland are scheduled to face the Matildas in the opening match at Accor Stadium on July 20!