The team named after New Zealand's largest city was founded in 2004 in time for the inaugural season of the New Zealand Football Championship. Since then, they have secured a remarkable run of success winning two league titles and four championships. The first crown in the 2004/05 season saw the club qualify, and win, the OFC Club Championship with a 3-1 victory over Tahiti's AS Pirae. That achievement meant the club were the first non-Australian side to represent Oceania at the FIFA Club World Cup. The New Zealanders will be looking to claim their first win at the tournament in December, after suffering a 2-0 loss to Egypt's Al Ahly and a 3-0 defeat to Korea Republic's Jeonbuk Hyundai in 2006.
A late season surge saw Auckland storm to a domestic and continental double earlier this year. City rivals Waitakere United claimed the domestic title by a comfortable margin but Auckland threw out the form book in the play-offs to win 2-1. The result seemed to galvanise the team and they repeated the dose a week later and won through to the OFC O-League final at the expense of Waitakere. Auckland then stunned Solomon Islanders' Koloale FC 7-2 in the first leg of the continental showpiece despite stifling humidity and a massive home crowd. The second leg became a mere formality as a 2-2 draw saw Auckland crowned Oceania champions for the second time in four years.
Leading from the front was experienced captain and former All White (New Zealand's national team). Ivan Vicelich who returned to his hometown after seven years in the Netherlands. Another former international, South African Keryn Jordan, found a rich vein of scoring form at the crucial part of the campaign with his eight goals, including five in the final, securing the O-League Golden Boot. Defender James Pritchett and young goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley have represented the All Whites but missed the cut for New Zealand's 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup squad.
"We're champions of Oceania and that means a lot. We don't want to go over there (UAE) just to make up the numbers. It will be tough but we have quality players and a good mix in our squad so we will definitely back ourselves," Auckland City captain and midfielder Vicelich following the OFC O-League triumph.
Facts and figures
Ben Sigmund, Jonathan Perry
James Pritchett (defender), Ivan Vicelich (midfielder), Keryn Jordan (forward)
4 wins and 2 draws in their six matches, scoring 24 goals and conceding 8.
The numbers game
8 - the number of goals striker Keryn Jordan scored in the 2008/09 OFC O-League across just 4 matches.
|21||Riki VAN STEEDEN|
|6||LEE Ki Hyung|