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OCL 2016: Koha & Competition

North Harbour Stadium

North Harbour Stadium

“Die Meister. Die Besten. Les grandes equipes. The champions!”


With the New Zealand Football Championship wrapped up for the year, it’s time for the pinnacle of club football in the Oceania confederation, the 2016 Oceania Champions League (OCL). 

It’s been three years since the OCL graced New Zealand soil when NZFC teams played home and away legs in the group stages. Since the the competition has reshaped itself into an event hosted by two nations, with the Cook Islands hosting the preliminary stage and New Zealand hosting the finals. This year the entire tournament will take place at the QBE Stadium in Albany between the 8th and 23rd of April.

This year’s competition sees NZFC finalists Team Wellington and Auckland City joined by teams representing Fiji (Suva, Nadi), New Caledonia (Magenta, Lossi), Papua New Guinea (Hekari United, Lae City Dwellers), Samoa (Kiwi FC), Solomon Islands (Solomon Warriors), Tahiti (Tefana) and Vanuatu (Amicale). For the biggest Polynesian city in the world, it’s a big deal.

Screenshot 2016-03-29 at 17.03.53.png

Sorry American Samoa, Cook Island and Tonga. You didn’t make it.

For the winner, the chance to compete in the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. Interestingly this year’s Club World Cup will allow a fourth substitute to be made in extra time, the first time it’s been allowed.

The majority of the group stage has scheduled for weekdays and each match day is a double header, kicking off at 1:30pm and 3:30pm. There are, however, fixtures on the weekends of the 9th/10th and 16th/17th, which both feature New Zealand’s representative teams in action. That’s convenient.

The real fun starts the following week though with the semi-finals being contested on Wednesday 20th and the final on Saturday 23rd of April. The school holidays start that week, so the OCL is a great opportunity to do something with the kids.


Kids having fun

Particularly because the whole competition requires no tickets. It’s not free entry, but the OCL have asked for a koha/contribution from those coming, with proceeds going towards the UNICEF Cyclone Winston Relief effort.

So, what’s not to like? International club football, for the price of whatever you can afford to help those in need, during the holidays when the kids might enjoy a day out. It’ll be cheaper than last year’s U20 World Cup and the attendances for that was pretty exceptional for football across New Zealand.

And hey, Auckland City are going for their sixth title in a row and the way the NZFC finished, Team Wellington will be looking to stop them. Nothing like a bit of drama. The stage is set.

We’ll be doing a preview of the three groups in the next 10 days as we countdown towards kick-off.

Categories: OFC Champions League

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John Palethorpe

8 replies

  1. The Koha method of entry pricing is going to be veru interesting & a very good measure to see where the popularity of ” Club ” ( In the wider sense of the word ) or domestic football sits with Joe public.
    Now….Just need to sort some ” Koha Advertising ” 🙂 & get the word out on the street.
    Hopefully though it will be a case of good news travels fast.

  2. Good article but as… “For the biggest Polynesian city in the world, it’s a big deal.”

    I wish to highlight that the largest Polynesian population base of the city is in South Auckland and they were denied the opportunity to be associated at the national football level in this country via the Auckland United FC brand in numerous bid attempts. It is great that you can see they matter ! But for others we are probably best as “bystanders” in the game and for our koha? It would have been a big deal if they were allowed to be in it.

    Don’t get me going by including the “biggest Polynesian city” jargon in soccer. For rugby, league, netball, and even cricket, yes! We are seeing this diversity encouraged and the success of this diversity enjoyed by these sports.

    It is very thoughtful for OFC though to dedicate this tournament to support the Fijians hit by the cyclone, and we have to be thankful to them. It is also a smart move. It shows an organisation that is thinking in line with the environment it is going to be hosting the tournament in. If we had to go by the crowds we see at the ASB Premier games than this tournament could be heading to be a disaster. But thanks to us it will not be and football will once again look good in NZ because we will be out there promoting the games to bring people to the games and yes many will be from the Pacific because it is an Oceania event after all.

    Most Fijians in NZ have already sent so much back to their homeland and are continuing to do so for the cyclone relief and I am sure more will be out there again supporting the game as they have done post migration to their new homeland in NZ.

    PS: it is also very sad to see that as a South Auckland based writer of this article you are having to go far away to Auckland City and Central. But I have to say that it is the better option with no Auckland United FC now 🙂

    1. you probably need to get over it – commenting over and over about how you were robbed just makes you look bitter and twisted, rather than someone who was genuinely denied a great opportunity – up to you of course!

  3. Excuse me, but you have Auckland city FC listed as the Grand Final Champion, and Team Wellington as the runner-up.

    Are you SURE about that John?

    I believe a correction is required, and an apology.

    1. Ho ho! Check your dates Mr Bardy. This year’s OCL is qualified for in the PRECEDING year. So last year ACFC did win and it says that.

      Wait for 2017 for your Teedubs Campeones moment!

    2. I got over it when Counties Manukau Soccer Association was disbanded and East Auckland was pushed out of the NZFC! Perhaps you need to read/research the bid history since the inception of this franchise based system before commenting.

      Bitter? No! Twisted, certainly.

  4. Dammit. As commented on Twitter I was trying to fake you out and get you to bite, but it didn’t work. ;o)

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