Teams: Nadi F.C (FijI), A.S Tefana (Tahiti), Vailima Kiwi F.C (Samoa) and A.S Magenta (New Caledonia.
Club Logos: Shades of yellow and green make up the majority of these Pacific teams. Nadi F.C’s severed wing plane design pays homage to their nickname, A.S Tefana’s has a rather nice bow and arrow, A.S Magenta have Bambi atop a football. No, I don’t know why. Kiwi F.C has a rather grumpy looking bird on. The winner? I’ve a liking for Nadi’s, if only because you don’t see many planes on club badges.
Info: Formed in 1937, Nadi have won nine Fijian titles. They have competed in one previous Oceania Champions League (2013) although they reached the final of the 1999 Oceania Club Championship, beating Auckland’s Central United on their way to the final. Success has been lean for the Jetsetters in the 21st century, and their qualification for this years OCL comes on the back of their first title success since 2000.
Form: Title winners last season, losing just one game while scoring a decimal point smidgen over two goals in each of the Fiji National Football League’s fourteen game season. This season they’ve played one, won one, but have had their training disrupted by Cyclone Winston. They’ve also dropped one cap midfielder Antonio Tuivuna for failing to attend any training runs. Ouch.
Where are the goals coming from? They have lost captain Samuela Drudru to fellow OCL side Nadi, but Napolioni Qasevakatini has started the season in good form. Qasevakatini has scored 3 goals in 2 games for the Fijian national side. Watch out Roy Krishna.
Info: Back to back winners of the New Caledonia Super Ligue in 2014 and 2015, A.S Magenta have competed in six Oceania Champions Leagues, although their best result in international competition was their finals appearance in the old Oceania Club Championship, losing to Sydney FC 2 – 0 in the 1999 final.
Form: Winners keep on winning, Magenta are unbeaten in the 2016 Super Ligue as they head to New Zealand, scoring a shade under 5 goals a game in the process. They’ve already got the New Caledonian Champions Cup under their belt and they’ll be hoping for more success at North Harbour Stadium.
Where are the goals coming from? Pierre Wajowka, New Caledonia’s most capped player, is an experienced head who’ll seek to get the best out of young Vanuatu striker Bill Nichols and the 2015 league top scorer Kevin Nemia.
Info: Hailing from a suburb of the Tahitian capital, Papeete, Tefana have competed in three previous Champions Leagues. In 2011 they suffered a 10 – 0 defeat by a Ryan De Vries and Roy Krishna inspired Waitakere United but then went on a wonder run to the final, the best result by a Tahitian team since 2006. Both sides were runner up to Auckland City F.C.
Form: A.S Tefana qualified for this year’s OCL by winning the 2014 – 15 Tahitian Ligue 1 and they have only improved since then in retaining the title. They haven’t lost a league game since October 19th 2013. In the 2015 – 2016 regular season they scored 103 goals in 21 matches, letting in only 20 goals in the process. Blimey.
Where are the goals coming from? 4.9 goals a game mean there’s no shortage of goalscoring in the side. Alvin Tehau was part of the 2012 finalist side, while Tinorua Temarii & Tauhiti Keck have chipped in with plenty of goals in their run-in to the Tahitian Grand Final this year.
Vailima Kiwi F.C
Info: Founded in 1977, the club was given its name due to the large numbers of NZ ex-pats who turned out for the side. The tradition continues today with Barry Lewis, father of Auckland City’s Clayton, playing for the Samoan side. There’s a few familiar faces in the Kiwi side, although their coach, Martin Tamasese, has been disappointed some New Zealand clubs have not released players, who competed in the Preliminary Round, for April’s competition
Form: They qualified for this year’s competition by storming through the qualifying rounds, dispatching Tongan side Veitongo 7 – 1 in their final group game. However, after winning the league in 2013 – 14, last season saw Kiwi finish third behind Vaimoso and Lupe o le Soaga. One good group game could help them towards making the knockout stage.
Where are the goals coming from? Samoan international striker Mike Saofaiga will be hoping to make his mark again this year. However, six of their players who took part in the preliminary tournament are unavailable so it’ll be up to other squad members to step up.
Categories: OFC Champions League
John Palethorpe lives in South Auckland which is very far away from Fratton Park and Champion Hill. Having been told there was no football in New Zealand, he was delighted to find that there is.