By Jason Heather
So the draw is out and the challenges have been accepted. Some teams are up against opponents they’ve never met before and some will be playing each other three times this season. In the case of Papakura v Lynn Avon they will go up against each other for two consecutive weeks. Everyone is geared up and eager to compete in the Chatham Cup……..or are they?
The thing is, for all of these clubs in the first round, actually winning this competition and lifting the coveted trophy is a pipe dream. Hand on heart, can you say that any of the teams listed below will eventually be crowned the overall victors?
Maybe North Shore United dream of reliving the halcyon days of the 60’s and 70’s, or Manurewa may have another great run, but the true reality is that in three rounds’ time they’ll mostly all be gone and forgotten in the cup and it’ll be back to the business of the league. Which leads me to ask the question, how many coaches actually take the Chatham Cup seriously? And what compels them to enter if they don’t consider it winnable by their team?
With the 2015 season well and truly underway, a lot of these teams will have a good idea whether they will be battling for promotion, fighting relegation or just trying to win games and finish higher than they did last year. So do they really need the distraction of the Chatham Cup? The players will say yes because they want to play as many games as they can, the committees will say yes because of bar takings, and the coach may even say yes in front of his club President.
However, deep down in the coach’s brain he’s saying “no”. He’s thinking about injuries, player fatigue, player availability, red cards, yellow cards, travel and a multitude of other things which could have a damaging effect on his league position. After all, that’s what defines him in the end of year review. He’s wondering why he has to do this when his team could have a week off to work on strategies, set pieces and all the things he needs to do to win the league, because as stated before, he knows he’s not going to win the cup.
So what is the attraction of the Chatham Cup to the lesser teams who squabble it out in the early rounds? Is it the money? As none of these clubs charge a gate fee or have a big enough following to do so, the dollar isn’t the draw. Is it the romance? Sadly no, unlike the English FA Cup where every single game is eagerly anticipated because cup football over there is so unpredictable anything could happen in 90 minutes. Is it for the attention? If you make it to the semis you might get some when a premier team come to visit.
No, it is one thing and one thing only; the love of the Game. It’s purely and simply because it’s football….nothing else. The Cup isn’t the reason you enter this competition, it’s because every morning you wake up you wish it was Saturday; it’s because every time you walk into work you wish you were walking onto the pitch; it’s because every time you turn your computer on you check last week’s scores and tables even though you already know what they are because you checked them 30 minutes after your last game ended. It’s because it’s football, and even if it is a cup you may never win you still love it……
But not the coach. He’s more concerned with whether he’ll have a fit striker and a full squad to choose from for the next league game. Don’t get me wrong, he loves the Chatham Cup, but he could do without the extra headache.
Fencibles Utd AFC v Oratia Utd
Metro FC v North Shore Utd AFC
Waitemata City AFC v Ranui Swanson AFC
Papakura City FC v Lynn-Avon Utd AFC
Albany Utd v Kawerau Sports Club
Glen Eden Utd v Tauranga City Utd AFC
University of Auckland v Warkworth AFC
Matamata Swifts v Waiuku AFC
FC Old Boys v Airforce
Ngaruawahia Utd AFC v Mt Albert-Ponsonby AFC
Pukekohe AFC v Manukau City AFC
Bucklands Beach AFC v Ngongotaha AFC
Papatoetoe AFC v South Auckland Rangers AFC
AUT FC v Ellerslie AFC
Mangere Utd v Waikato Unicol AFC
Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC v Kerikeri FC
Te Puke Utd v Onehunga Mangere Utd AFC
Otumoetai FC v Hibiscus Coast AFC
Manurewa AFC v Takapuna AFC
Te Atatu AFC v Claudelands Rovers
[Jason Heather is the first team coach of Papakura City FC]
Categories: NZ Chatham Cup
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.