Auckland City’s fifth appearance at FIFA’s premier club event will feature a dream match against Moroccan champions Raja Casablanca on December 11in Agadir.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a great tournament and we have to appreciate the opportunity we’ve got to compete in Morocco. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be back there for the third consecutive time,” Tribulietx said.
The Oceania champions also play a glamour friendly with La Liga outfit Espanyol at a Barcelona training camp just prior to heading to Morocco, a game that means a lot to Tribulietx, a Catalonian.
“In some ways it’s a dream come true to take our club back to my home town but it will be very difficult. Espanyol will be a mixture of first, B-team and youth players,” he said.
Skipper Ivan Vicelich has put the disappointment of not qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil behind him and is looking forward to the Club World Cup.
“It’s exciting for the club to be part of this tournament and for many players it will be the peak of their careers. We’ve trained really hard and want to produce a good performance,” Vicelich said.
There were few surprises in the squad selected for Morocco.
While James Pritchett and assistant coach Riki van Steeden were part of the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup campaign, and captain Ivan Vicelich, Daniel Koprivcic, Adam Dickinson, Adam McGeorge and Alex Feneridis, were all part of the 2009 Auckland City squad that finished fifth in Abu Dhabi, some newer faces give Auckland a more cosmopolitan and fresher look this year.
The youthful quintet of David Browne, Sam Burfoot, Oliver Sail, Louie Caunter and Rory Turner all make the squad, while new acquisitions John Irving, Cristobal Marquez, Mario Bilen, Darren White and Ryan de Vries could make their first appearances at this level. Fiji International striker Roy Krishna – the first Fijian player to play at a FIFA Club World Cup – is likely to lead the attack.
Club chairman Ivan Vuksich was excited about a fifth FIFA Club World Cup adventure.
“We’re not blasé about what lies ahead. We’re proud to be a part of the Club World Cup and looking forward to giving our best in Morocco,” Vuksich said.
Also included are defenders Angel Berlanga and Takuya Iwata, striker Emiliano Tade and bustling midfielder Chris Bale. Experienced All Whites squad goalkeeper Tamati Williams and defender Andrew Milne round off the group.
OFC Head of Competitions David Firisua also said that the format for the OFC Champions League, the tournament that determines Oceania’s representatives at the FIFA Club World Cup, for next year was set.
“The format will be three groups of four teams in a group stage in Fiji from April 7-13. Two weeks later, there will be a home and away semi-final scheduled for the 26th and 27th April. A Grand Final at a venue yet to be determined will be scheduled after that,” Firisua said.
NZF Board Member Mike Anderson added that Auckland City’s participation was also a fillip for the ASB Premiership.
“To have an ASB Premiership club at the FIFA Club World Cup is a great boost for New Zealand Football and its exciting Auckland City have won our domestic competition then the OFC Champions League to qualify for Morocco,” he said.
Auckland City’s next ASB Premiership match is with arch-rivals Waitakere United on Saturday 30 November, 2013, kick-off 2pm.
The club departs for Morocco on Tuesday 3 December
-EXTRA INFORMATION BELOW-
AUCKLAND CITY SQUAD – FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP MOROCCO 2013
1. Tamati WILLIAMS GK New Zealand
3. Takuya IWATA D Japan
4. Mario BILEN M Croatia
5. Angel BERLANGA D Spain
6. John IRVING D England
7. James PRITCHETT D New Zealand
8. Chris BALE M Wales
9. Darren WHITE F England
10. Ryan de VRIES F New Zealand
11. Daniel KOPRIVCIC M New Zealand
12. Roy KRISHNA F Fiji
13. Alex FENERIDIS` M New Zealand
14. Adam DICKINSON F England
15. Ivan VICELICH D New Zealand
16. Cristobal MARQUEZ M` Spain
17. Adam McGEORGE M New Zealand
18. Louis CAUNTER GK England
19. David BROWNE M Papua New Guinea
20. Emiliano TADE F Argentina
21. Rory TURNER F New Zealand
22. Andrew MILNE D New Zealand
23. Sam BURFOOT M England
Head Coach: Ramon TRIBULIETX
Assistant Coach: Riki van STEEDEN
Goalkeeper Coach: Simone NADDI
Logistics Manager: Simon JOHNSTON
Property Steward: Arthur EGAN
Club Doctor: Craig PANTHER
Physios: Andrew NEWMARCH/Tim READ
Media Manager: Gordon Glen WATSON