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Champions to open new season

On one side are the New Caledonia Super Ligue champions Gaitcha and on the other, the winners of the Coupe de Caledonie Hienghene Sport.
In what is an entrée of sorts the Champion’s Trophy will set the stakes high as it leads in to the new Super Ligue season, which gets underway on 8 March.
Both teams are looking to build on their success of 2013 with both sides winning their first respective titles, and looking to add more.
The club from the north of the ‘Grand Terre’ will be without midfield playmaker Roy Kayara, who has moved on to New Zealand’s ASB Premiership, however striker and 2011 OFC Player of the Year Bertrand Kai continues to lend his skills and leadership to the squad.
“We have been back at training since the second week of January,” says Hienghene Sport CEO Ritchie Bouanou.
“With the physical preparation established by our trainer and with the Tjibaou Triohy which allowed us some time to play, we have been able to get back into game condition, even if the other teams are not ready yet.
“But, the Champion’s Trophy comes at the right time to really get into the season.”
Hienghene are keen to assert their dominance early as they look to make a name for themselves as a top Caledonian club – but Bouanou says his side has a habit of taking its time settling into the season.
“This was the case at the beginning of last season, the group often takes three to four games to really get their legs,” Bouanou says.
Gaitcha play Hienghene Sport on Saturday 1 March at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea, New Caledonia in the Champion’s Trophy before the Super Ligue gets underway a week later.
For more on New Caledonia football go to www.fedcalfoot.com


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