Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2011 O-League > Leong: First final makes me proud

Leong: First final makes me proud

The home side have made history by becoming the first Vanuatu team to qualify for an O-League final and will write an even more impressive chapter into their record books if they can overcome New Zealand rivals City and earn the right to represent Oceania at the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
That would make owner and vice-president Andrew Leong, who is already delighted about Amicale making it this far, an even prouder man.
Leong has been a successful businessman in Vanuatu for some years now and is one of the main backers of football in the country, the majority of whose 240,000-plus population are obsessed with the world’s most popular game.
China-born Leong decided to invest in Amicale two years ago and the Port Vila-based club has experienced a rapid rise since then, establishing itself as the dominant force domestically and putting itself on the verge of qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup, a prize that will also bring with it a US$500,000 pay cheque.
Their golden run has surprised many football followers across the Pacific and Leong is bursting with pride that the Amicale name is now known internationally.
“We are now in the final of the O-League for the first time,” Leong says.
“The boys have fought for eveything from our first match and I can only be proud of them. They probably don’t know how much I have appreciated their work and I feel so honoured to have seen them play so well,” he adds.
“They have been acting like professional players and sometimes we have gone through rough waters but life has gone on and I respect them because they understand me and know my objectives for the club.”
One of Leong’s main aims is to spread joy throughout Vanuatu, which is made up of many islands, by providing a successful team that the football-mad locals can cheer on.
“I want to help people in grassroots areas of Vanuatu to be happy through good football results. That’s why I ask my boys to play good football and win every time – so that joy and happiness can be brought to families in rural areas,” he says.
“Without their support we would not be in the final of the O-League.”
Those fans will be even happier if Amicale can upset the odds and take a good result into the second leg, to be played at Auckland’s Kiwitea St ground on April 17.
The first leg kicks of at 3pm local time on Saturday at Port Vila Stadium and oceaniafootball.com will be providing live text updates.

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