September 21, 2020

Cayman Islands Premier League Football Champions to play in New Zealand


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SCCZEN_A_08112013NZHNSAUCKFC13_620x310Cayman Islands Football Club Bodden Town FC, the current Cayman Premier League champions are busy training to take part in the Oceania Football Confederation President’s Cup in .

From The New Zealand Herald:

Hosting all the President’s men

A new football tournament is set for Auckland later this year, featuring club sides from three different Fifa confederations plus a national team.

The Oceania Football Confederation’s President Cup is planned for late November and have invited teams from Asia and Concacaf, as well as the top two clubs from Oceania.

But before you start pondering a if Mexican or an MLS club are coming, or even one from Costa Rica, hold that thought. It’s the current champions of the Cayman Islands Premier League, Bodden Town FC, who will represent the North and Central American Confederation at the tournament, which is likely to be held at Trusts Stadium in Waitakere.

Oceania’s representatives are Auckland City and Vanuatu’s Amicale, who played in the OFC Champions League final earlier this year to decide the qualifier for the 2014 .

The other participating teams are top-ranked Bahrain side Busaiteen FC, a team from Singapore’s S-League and ’s under-20 team, who recently qualified for next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

It’s an intriguing mix.

The Cayman Islands side are ranked 196 (of 208) on the Fifa rankings, ahead of Andorra, American Samoa, Somalia, Macau, the Cook Islands and San Marino.

The footballing high point for the Caribbean tax haven came in 1995, when as co-host of the Caribbean Cup they reached the semifinals. They then lost 9-2 to Trinidad and Tobago but still finished ahead of the Jamaican Reggae Boyz, who went on to qualify for the 1998 World Cup. As the result, the tiny country, which has just 1300 registered players, reached a high point of 127 in the Fifa rankings.

Bodden Town FC, named after the original settler of the islands in the 17th Century, won the most recent 10-team Cifa league, ahead of the likes of Scholars FC and Sunset FC. Their current squad is composed entirely of local players.

Busaiteen FC took out the Bahrain Premier League in 2012-13 and reached the King’s Cup final last season. Their squad features players from across the Middle East, as well as Brazil and East Timor.

The tournament will be invaluable preparation for the Fiji side ahead of the World Cup, although it’s curious why the New Zealand under-20 team are not participating. They will be playing in the ASB Premiership at the same time as Wanderers FC but their inclusion in the OFC event would boost local interest.

The tournament is set to be staged from November 17 to 23. It’s the brainchild of OFC President David Chung, and was originally meant to be held in Papua New Guinea but is now scheduled for Auckland.

The motivations for staging the tournament are unclear. OFC’s broadcasting arm gets more extensive every year, and this will be a way to utilise that expertise and take coverage of OFC teams into other markets. It might also be a way to build bridges with the Asian Confederation, who have held their own Presidents Cup (for emerging Asian nations) for the last decade.

The OFC President’s Cup is likely to become an annual event, held in different venues across the region.

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