New Zealand’s Auckland City FC, who secured their place at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011 back in April this year, will begin their domestic league season this weekend with a trio of new signings.
The OFC Champions League victors have not only re-signed defender Chad Coombes, but strengthened their ranks with defensive midfielder Andreu Guerao Mayoral and striker Emiliano Tade in preparation for their adventure in Asia in December.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx believes the opportunity to feature at the FIFA Club World Cup was a key factor in attracting Andreu, once a member of Barcelona’s B team, to Auckland.
He said: “We contacted him and asked if he was available in August as we were going to the FIFA Club World Cup at the end of the year.
“The chance to participate in a FIFA Club World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many footballers and this was a defining factor in his decision to join us.”
The 28-year-old Spaniard has considerable experience in his homeland, having also played for Sporting Gijon in La Liga before making a move to Poland to play for Polonia Warsaw.
Tribulietx expects Andreu to bring increased composure to his side: “He’s used to our style of football and he’s especially good in possession when we’re pressed high. When space is tight, Andreu is very comfortable on the ball.”
Further up the field, Tade will add extra pace to a strikeforce already containing the likes of Daniel Koprivcic, Luis Corrales and Manel Exposito.
Tribulietx is confident that the Argentinian, who has experience in New Zealand after a stint with Team Wellington, will also adapt nicely to Auckland’s style.
“Emiliano’s very good in one-on-one situations, he’s quick and has a keen eye for goal. We think he can play within our style and be a very good signing for the club this season,” the coach said.
The season starts for Auckland on Sunday with a trip to Hamilton to face Waikato FC, and confidence is high within the camp.
“There’s now a healthy competition for places and everyone will have ample opportunity to stake their claims,” Tribulietx concluded.