November 27, 2021

Football: Big plans for the President’s Cup [Cayman’s BT lose 9-0 to Auckland]

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b8d24bd0dfd2cc4b3a0567eda08deb33a44c0ba9_620x311By Michael Burgess From The New Zealand Herald

The OFC President’s Cup is here to stay – and there are big plans for a tournament you may not know existed.

The final of the six-team tournament, which has featured clubs from three different Fifa confederations, will be played today in West Auckland between Auckland City and Vanuatu champions Amicale.

The ambitious venture hasn’t made much of a splash but Oceania Football Confederation president David Chung is happy to play the long game.

“You have to start somewhere,” Chung said. “We hope one day this event will be quite big.”

Chung says it will be staged in Auckland for at least the next two years, although probably earlier in the year.

It’s estimated the tournament has cost OFC around $300,000. Chung hopes one day the event can break even – or make a profit – especially if it can attract higher-profile teams and broadcasting rights.

For Chung, the tournament is all about “relationships and respect”. He says Oceania teams rarely get exposed to teams outside the confederation and it can be an “eye opener” for both parties.

Perhaps more importantly, he believes OFC have to build alliances with other confederations to make any progress on the world stage, especially with March’s vote on 2018 World Cup spots and pathways. Oceania hope any playoff will be against an Asian side.

“We can’t do anything by ourselves,” Chung said. “We have only one vote [on the Fifa executive committee]. Everything needs to be done through relationships.”

That’s why it’s no coincidence that teams from the Cayman Islands (Bodden Town) and Bahrain (Busaiteen) are the representatives from the North American Confederation (Concacaf) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) respectively.

The Cayman Islands just happens to be the home federation of Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb (who succeeded Jack Warner) and AFC president Salman Al-Khalifa hails from – you guessed it – Bahrain.

It’s been an odd tournament. Crowds have been sparse but enthusiastic, especially when the Fiji under-20 team and Amicale were playing. The football has also varied dramatically. Amicale’s win over Busaiteen was a great contest and Auckland City produced some dazzling moments in their two matches.

But Singapore’s under-23 side were poor and Bodden Town reinforced stereotypes about the Cayman Islands being a financial hub and not much else. At times their unorthodox style was intriguing to watch but, in the words of one spectator watching their 9-0 capitulation against Auckland on Friday, “this lot would struggle against a [local] over-30s team”.

It’s debatable whether the Fiji team have enjoyed a good build up to next year’s Under-20 World Cup. They conceded 11 goals in their two group matches and had two players sent off against Busaiteen.

Saturday’s match is a repeat of the 2014 OFC Champions League final between Amicale and Auckland City. Amicale boast players with European and A-League experience as well as former All Whites defender Ian Hogg and will provide a good test for Auckland City.

The ASB Premiership side will be favourites for another trophy. Striker Emiliano Tade is in the form of his life and difficult to contain at this level, and former Amicale duo Marko Dordevic (Serbia) and Sanni Issa (Nigeria) may make their debuts for Auckland today.

IMAGE: Auckland City FC’s Emiliano Tade is in rich form at the moment. Photo / Phototec

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Cayman’s Bodden Town is demolished 9-0 in OFC President’s group

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 4.30.14 PMAuckland City demolished Cayman Islands’ Bodden Town Football Club 9-0 last Thursday (20) November in their final group match of the Oceania Football Confederation President’s Cup.

Auckland’s Emilianio Tade scored a hat trick and Ryan De Vries added two more. The other goal scorers were Darren White, Kohei Matsumoto, Fabrizio Tavana and Sam Burfoot.

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