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Auckland City FC name CWC squad

Talismanic skipper and last year’s Club World Cup bronze ball winner, Ivan Vicelich, has succumbed to a niggling injury but goes to Japan as assistant coach.
Auckland City’s seventh appearance at FIFA’s premier club event will feature a dream match against one of either Urawa Red Diamonds, Gamba Osaka or Sanfrecce Hiroshima on December 10 at Yokohama International Stadium. The Sandringham-based club plays one warm-up match with J.League 2 side Yokohama FC on December 4.
“We’re very happy with the entire squad. Its a shame Ivan is not in a position to be able to compete. He’s been nursing an injury but he hasn’t overcome that in time.
“He understands that coming up against the J.League champions is a massive step up and we’ve made the call that he will help in a different way,” Tribulietx said.
Despite the loss of Vicelich’s presence on the pitch, the squad still includes five players with All Whites experience in Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Clayton Lewis, Adam McGeorge, Ryan De Vries and Jacob Spoonley.
The presence of a clutch of players like goalkeepers Danyon Drake and Liam Anderson, Jesse Edge, Andrew Milne, Sam Burfoot, Michael Den Heijer and Nathanael Hailemariam, strengthen the local flavour, with most with considerable international or professional experiences of some sort in the past.
“I think the squad overall is very good we have quite a few new players in there. Some are very young but again this generation of players have a very good understanding of the game and their skillset is very good. There are a core of players from last year who are back in and with one more year of experience,” he added.
The core makes for encouraging reading with Marko Dordevic, Mario Bilen, Darren White, Angel Berlanga, Takuya Iwata, Emiliano Tade and Dae Wook Kim all experienced at this level.
Striker Joao Moreira, who sat out last year’s campaign with a broken leg, is now fully fit and ready to test himself against the J.League winners. Another import Mikel Alvaro adds guile and know-how to midfield.
Micah Lea’alafa, while a new face, is no stranger to the pressures of international football having played at two FIFA Futsal World Cups in 2008 and 2012 for the Solomon Islands.
Tribulietx says despite last year’s fairytale run to the podium, the task before Auckland City FC remains complex and difficult.
“Our performance last year helped change our perception of how we view games in this tournament and I think our team is very good.
“But we are the first to acknowledge we are coming up against a team from Japan who are twenty or twenty five times bigger than us, so our feet remain firmly on the ground,” he said.
Former WaiBOP United youngster Alfie Rogers is added to the squad with Vicelich sidelined.
Auckland City FC face Canterbury United in the ASB Premiership on Sunday at Kiwitea Street at 4.35pm NZST on Sky Sport but Tribulietx says his team are wary of the highflying southerners.
“Canterbury United have started well and are a form team with two wins in two games. They’re going to be a very difficult team to play. We met them in pre-season and saw what they can do, they’re defensively well organised and on the counter they have good players who can hurt you.
“We have to play well and be switched on because the ASB Premiership is the first step towards qualification for the OFC Champions League then FIFA Club World Cup.
“We need to be focused and hope our guys understand that if we play a good game then we can switch our focus to Japan,” he said.
The team departs New Zealand on Tuesday 2 December and Wednesday 3 December, setting up camp in Yokohama ahead of the friendly match with Yokohama FC on December 4.
Extra Information
TEAM TRAVEL AND MATCH SCHEDULE
Tuesday 1 December, 2015
Auckland City FC squad departs Auckland International Airport, New Zealand for Singapore.
Wednesday 2 December, 2015
Auckland City FC squad departs Auckland International Airport, New Zealand for Hong Kong.
FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2015 match schedule here.
Friday 4 December, 2015
Friendly Match
Yokohama FC (JPN) v Auckland City
Kick-off: 2:00 (local)/6.30 (NZST)
(Live text updates @AucklandCity_FC)
Thursday 10 December, 2015
FIFA Club World Cup playoff
J.League winner (JPN) v Auckland City
Yokohama International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan
Kick-off: 19h45 (Local)/23h45 (NZST)
Winner advances to FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final against CAF representative.


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