We are the Champions: Oceania – OFC Champions League 2012/2013 – Auckland City FC
Auckland City FC was founded in 2004 and has played in ASB Premiership, the highest football Chamionship in New Zealand, since its launch in 2004, when a new top division based on franchises and “American” system replaced the former Competition. The Club has won so far 4 Neozelandese Championships (currently named ASB Premiership), 2 Neozelandese Super Cup (ASB Charity Cup) and 5 OFC Champions League. Blue is the official colour.
It’s a stadium with a capacity of about 3.500, but just 250 of them covered and seated, and it’s often known as Freyberg Field as well.
ACFC won 5 Editions (2006, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13) of the highest football competition in Oceania, OFC Champions League, and thus played 5 Editions of FIFA Club World Cup. In 2009 ACFC had its best performance in the top highest Club Competition in the world of football, in fact they ended in the fifth place (on seven), winning two on three matches played: they defeated 0-2 Al Ahli (E.A.U.), the home Champions, in the preliminary Play-off, then lost 3-0 to Atlante FC (Mexico) in the Quarter-finals, and finally defeated 3-2 TP Mazembe, a Congloese team that would have reached the Final in the following year, in the Match for Fifth Place.
2012/13 Season was characterized by a fierce duel between Auckland City FC and Waitakere United.
These teams dominated Regular Season and qualified for the Play-offs, in which Auckland City FC eliminated Canterbury United in the Semi-final, but then was defeated 4-3, after extra time, by Waitakere United in a single legged Final, that was a Derby as well. It was a very thrilling match: at 75′, when the score was 2-2, ACFC was reduced to ten men because a player, who had entered the pitch less than twenty minutes before, was sent off. Despite that, ACFC took the lead at 89′, but WU tied the game one minute later thanks to a Roy Krishna‘s (who is currently playing for ACFC) goal, and then won the game in the extra time.
Auckland City FC took revenge two months later: it qualified on the last matchday for OFC Champions League Semi-finals, after ending as runner-up in a Group involving AS Mont-Dore (New Caledonia, defeated 12-2 by ACFC in the home match), AS Dragon (Tahiti) and Waitakere United. Then ACFC defeated BA FC (Fiji Islands) in the Semi-finals, and faced its arch-rivals again in the Final, but this time won 2-1 thanks to Adam Dickinson‘s and Alex Feneridis‘s goals.
He’s a Spanish from Barcelona, he’s 43 and played for several clubs in 2°B Española, the third tier of Spanish football pyramid, and has managed Auckland City FC since 2010, after he had been Paul Posa’s and Aaron McFarland’s assistant for two years, and after he had probably played for the club as well. He has won so far 2 ASB Charity Cup e 3 OFC Champions League.
1 Tamati WILLIAMS
18 Lewis CAUNTER (ENG)
24 Oliver SAIL
3 Takuya IWATA (JAP)
5 Angel BERLANGA (ESP)
6 John IRVING (ENG)
7 James PRITCHETT
15 Ivan VICELICH
22 Andrew MILNE
4 Mario BILEN (CRO)
8 Christopher BALE (WAL)
11 Daniel KOPRIVCIC
13 Alex FENERIDIS
16 Cristobal MARQUEZ (SPA)
17 Adam MCGEORGE
23 Sam BURFOOT
9 Darren WHITE (ENG)
10 Ryan DE VRIES
12 Roy KRISHNA (FIJ)
14 Adam DICKINSON (ENG)
19 David BROWNE (PNG)
20 Emiliano TADE (ARG)
21 Rory TURNER
NOTE: the squad is the one registered for FIFA Club World Cup 2013. Here you can find the 2012/2013 squad that won OFC Champions League: http://www.transfermarkt.it/it/auckland-city-fc/leistungsdaten/verein_11391_gesamt_2012.html
There are two “stars” in the squad: captain Ivan Vichelich (37, central back, captain of Neozelandese National Team, with whom he has appeared in 88 matches and scored 6 goals so far, has played 2010 WC, while in the past he had a good career in Holland with RKC and Roda JC), and Cristóbal (29, former Villarreal CF, Elche CF and Karpaty Lviv midfielder, he appeared both in La Liga and in Ukrainian Premier League).
Other interesting player can be Tamati Williams (29, second GK of Neozalandese National Team), Mario Bilen (28, Croatin defender with a good experience in Croatian top tier), James Pritchett (31, right back/midfielder, former Neozelandese International), Roy Krishna (26, striker, International of Fiji Islands, he has just been bought from rivals of Waitakere United, and has a quite high goal scoring average in ASB Premiership) and the Argentinian Emiliano Tade (25, another prolific striker).
The very young striker of Papua New Guinea, David Browne, started current Season very well and looks quite promising.
Finally in the squad of Auckland City FC you can find even Batman, the Welsh midfielder Chris(topher) Bale, 31, almost namesake with the famous actor.
Williams - Irving (Pritchett), Vichelich, Bilen, Iwata – Cristóbal (White), Bale, Feineridis - De Vries (Browne), Krishna, Koprivcic (Dickinson)
ACFC is probably the best supported team of the League, and their average attendance during Championship matches is a bit less than 1.000, and goes from 7/800 to 1.500/2.000 for the local Derby against Waitakere United, a rivality increased by the fact that these matches are often decisive to win ASB Premiership and, sometimes, OFC Champions League.
During post Regular Season Play-offs and OFC Champions League Semi-finals and Finals, attendance can reach about 3.000, especially when these matches coincide with the Derby of Auckland.
There is about a dozen of supporters that tries to set up a kind of “organized” tifo.