Standing just metres from the FIFA Club World Cup trophy at OFC Academy earlier today has helped give OFC Champions League winners Auckland City a renewed sense of determination. The trophy is touring the world ahead of the 2013 edition of the FIFA Club World Cup, which gets underway in Morocco on 11 December, and made a visit to Auckland to help promote the upcoming event locally.
OFC President David Chung says it is an excellent opportunity for the region to see exactly what clubs who compete in the OFC Champions League are going on to.
“This is a prestigious tournament in which the best club sides in the World compete against each other,” Chung says. “It is an honour to have the trophy visit New Zealand and the OFC Academy. It is also an added incentive for Auckland City ahead of their Club World Cup campaign, for which we wish them the best of luck.”
Trophy Tour coordinator So Ono says it is important to promote the tournament broadly which is why they have brought it to New Zealand.
“Bringing this trophy to New Zealand makes people aware that Auckland City are coming to Morocco,” Ono said. “We want to make this tournament as famous as possible.”
The Club World Cup is attracts attention around the world through the professional sides who participate including Barcelona, Corinthians and this year’s European champions Bayern Munich. Auckland City captain Ivan Vicelich has attended this tournament three times and says having the trophy at home in Auckland is an added bonus as it shows friends and family exactly what he and his teammates are competing for.
“It’s absolutely great that FIFA have brought the trophy down to New Zealand to show to the public,” Vicelich says. “It’s the dream of our club to win trophies and we’ve done that in the Oceania region. If we can do that on the world stage, it would be incredible.
“But the hardest thing for us is that we are an amateur club and we need to play against a professional team so we need to focus now, and over the next month, on training like professionals. We’re going to hopefully put in more sessions in over the week, try and lift our game and get as close as we can to bridging the gap between amateur and professional.”
Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx says looking at the trophy inspires an element of aggression within him and greater drive to do well.
“I think for us it’s great to be in a tournament like this as we are definitely the smallest team of the tournament,” Tribulietx said. “For us it’s a big honour to be in a competition sharing with big clubs like Bayern Munich and even Raja Casablanca – they normally have 40,000 people in their home games so for us it is a pleasure and we are very honoured to be part of a tournament like that and we will try to be as competitive as we can. You never know this game of football is a very funny game and as long as we’re competitive we’ll be happy.”
The FIFA Club World Cup is being held in Morocco from 11-21 December with Auckland City representing Oceania after defeating Waitakere United in the OFC Champions League final in May. The trophy will be on display at Sky City over the weekend at the Sky City Atrium on Saturday 26 October and Sunday 27 October.