Last years’ OFC Champions League winners, Team Wellington, have started their Group Stages on a positive note although have not underestimated their next opponents as they come up against Kiwi FC from Samoa in Game 2 at Korman Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
After a determined performance in their opening match, it’s expected that Kiwi FC will head in to Game 2 full of confidence, something that Team Wellington Head Coach José Figueira, is well prepared for.
“I think everyone was expecting them to lose heavily, in all honesty, but one thing that stood out for me was the way they fought, they never gave up and they tried any means possible to try and spoil Erakor, so we’re preparing for that,” the Wellington coach said.
“We need to be patient, we don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary against a team that is well set up and organised that’s trying to spoil you, so that’s really been the focus today at training.”
While conditions are challenging, Team Wellington have settled in well to their home away from home in Port Vila, acclimatising quickly and adjusting to the conditions.
“It’s a fact that it is difficult conditions here - the summers back home are nowhere near the humidity we have here and it’s the heat with the humidity on top of that that makes it tough but the boys have experience playing in the islands, the work from the staff off the field, the way we recover and prepare has definitely helped us settle in,” Figueira said.
It’s a new look Team Wellington side from that who qualified last year having had some key players depart, however senior player and goalkeeper, Scott Basalaj was confident in the depth of his side and their ability to go all the way.
“It’s an easy transition when we have new players join the squad because of the characters and personalities we have in the team. Those that have come in have settled well and it only drives the wider squad to be better and push each other harder.” Basalaj said.
The goalkeeper was proud of his sides performance in their first game but has a lot of respect for their next opponents as they prepare for Game 2.
“They’re not a side we’ve played against before but from their showing in their first game, they push right to the end so we’re preparing ourselves to play our game for the full 90 minutes and hope to take that qualifying spot.
OFC Champions League 2019 – Group C
Kiwi FC [KIW] vs. Team Wellington [WLG]
Port Vila, Vanuatu Tuesday 26 Feb
Kick-off: 14:00 local (16:00 NZ)
Referee: Roger ADAMS (PNG)
Assistant Referee 1: Noah KUSUNAN (PNG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen SENIGA (SOL)
Fourth Official: Ben AUKWAI (SOL)
Team List: 1. Eti FATU (GK), 3. Federico DIAZ, 4. Kenneth KEREWI, 5. Kitiona NAUERI, 6. Andrew SETEFANO, 7. Jarrell SALE, 8. Albert BELL, 9. Samuelu MALO, 10 Paul SCANLAN, 12. Tiomte FONI, 13. Lionel TAYLOR, 14. Lafi IOANE, 15. Lotial MANO, 16. Silao MALO, 17. Tavita TOO, 19. Ansheil KUMAR, 21. Semu FAIMATA, (GK)
Coach: Martin TAMASESE (SAM)
Team List: 1. Scott BASALAJ, 2. Tiahn MANUEL, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario ILICH, 6. Taylor SCHRIJVERS, 7. Eric MOLLOY, 8. Henry CAMERON, 10. Nathanael HAILEMARIAM, 11. Bill ROBERTSON, 13. Daniel MULHOLLAND, 14. Jack-Henry SINCLAIR, 15. Joel STEVENS, 16. Angus KILKOLLY, 17. Alexander PALEZEVIC, 18. Aaron CLAPHAM, 19. Ross ALLEN, 22. Marcel KAMPMAN (GK)
Coach: Jose FIGUEIRA (ENG)