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Auckland name squad for Japan challenge

Auckland’s fourth appearance at FIFA’s premier club event will feature a dream match against J.League winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima on December 6 at Yokohama International Stadium. The Sandringham-based club plays one warm-up match with J.League 2 side Matsumoto Yamaga FC on December 1.
“This is a very well-balanced squad and one that I believe is capable of playing to the particular style of play that we have worked on for a long time,” Tribulietx says.
“We are essentially an amateur club but the players have shown great commitment in training every day, which is not easy for many of them who also work jobs outside football.”
While James Pritchett and Riki van Steeden were part of the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup campaign, and captain Ivan Vicelich, Daniel Koprivcic, Adam Dickinson, Jacob Spoonley and Alex Feneridis were all part of the 2009 City squad that finished fifth in Abu Dhabi, some newer faces give Auckland a more cosmopolitan and youthful look this year.
Captain Ivan Vicelich says it is difficult to make comparisons with past tournaments.
“The team has a very strong look to it but it is tricky to compare with teams from the past. But I am very proud to represent the club at another FIFA Club World Cup and the match with Sanfrecce Hiroshima will be tough,” he says.
The most remarkable inclusion is 16-year-old Papua New Guinea international David Browne, who becomes the second youngest player to ever feature in a squad at a FIFA Club World Cup behind striker Victor Manon who was selected for Mexican club Pachuca in 2008.
Ivan Vicelich, 36, made his All Whites debut in June 1995 – six months before Browne was born.
The Port Moresby-born Browne turns 17 just 11 days after the Club World Cup final on December 16.
Club chairman Ivan Vuksich is excited about a fourth FIFA Club World Cup adventure.
“This tournament is Auckland City’s very reason for being,” Vuksich says. “We are delighted to be a part of it again and the financial implications for success are obvious.”
The prize money for the FIFA Club World Cup totals $16,500,000 USD, with the club guaranteed a windfall of around $500,000 USD minimum, a sum that is split up between Auckland, New Zealand Football and the ASB Premiership clubs.
“We make roughly a quarter of whatever prize money is secured, so you can imagine the difference between finishing seventh and fifth, as we did in Abu Dhabi in 2009,” he says.
Also included is the former Barcelona forward Manel Exposito alongside Angel Berlanga, Albert Riera, Emiliano Tade and Costa Rican forward Luis Corrales. Former Royal Charleroi player Pedro Santa Cecilia Garcia is also included.
Takuya Iwata – a one-time J.League 2 player with FC Gifu – slots in at left back and provides an element of interest for Japanese football fans. Iwata is the first Japanese player to don the navy blue of Auckland since Teruo Iwamoto starred for the club in 2006.
Tribulietx has named three goalkeepers – Jacob Spoonley, Tamati Williams and ASB Secondary Schools Boys’ Footballer of the Year Liam Anderson – with the identity of his preferred number one for Japan unknown.
Koprivcic makes his fifth FIFA Club World Cup appearance – a tournament record – and he is one match behind all-time Club World Cup appearance holder Hossam Ashour, who has played in seven games.
New Zealand Football CEO Grant McKavanagh says Auckland City’s participation is a fillip for the ASB Premiership, the country’s national league.
“Auckland City’s FIFA Club World Cup participation lends great credibility to the ASB Premiership and you can see from the work Ramon Tribulietx has done that it also attracts top quality players and raises the standards on and off the pitch,” he says.
The team departs New Zealand on November 27, setting up camp in Tokyo ahead of the friendly match with J-League 2 club Matsumoto Yamaga in Tokyo on December 1.
Auckland City squad for FIFA Club World Cup
1. Jacob SPOONLEY (GK)
2. Simon ARMS
3. Takuya IWATA
4. Riki van STEEDEN
5. Angel BERLANGA
6. Jason HICKS
7. James PRITCHETT
8. Chris BALE
9. Manel EXPOSITO
10. Luis CORRALES
11. Daniel KOPRIVCIC
12. Tamati WILLIAMS (GK)
13. Alex FENERIDIS
14. Adam DICKINSON
15. Ivan VICELICH
16. Albert RIERA
17. Pedro GARCIA
18. Liam ANDERSON (GK)
19. Daniel SARIC
20. Emiliano TADE
21. David BROWNE
22. Andrew MILNE


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