Being the first team to arrive in Fiji for Group D of the 2019 OFC Champions League, AS Central Sport are ambitious to go one step better than their debut season two years ago where they could not advance beyond the group stage.
On the domestic scene, Central Sport is one of the most successful clubs in Tahiti with a staggering 21 league titles and 18 Tahiti cup in their trophy cabinet.
In one of the closest races in recent times, AS Central Sport claimed the 2017/18 Ligue 1 title in Tahiti on the final day of the season.
It’s the first time in 33 years that the club has been crowned league champions and is reward for a consistent season which also earned them a return to the OFC Champions League in 2019.
With such dominance in Tahiti, all of which raises the question, can AS Central Sport fulfilled its potential on the regional level?
AS Central Sport made their first appearance in the 2017 OFC Champions League held in Noumea, New Caledonia.
in 2017, the French Polynesians finished second behind francophone rivals Magenta and missed out of the knockout stage.
Heading into Group B competition of the 2019 OFC Champions League here in Lautoka, the Ligue 1 champions are seeking a moment of glory on their second attempt.
Former Central player, now coach, Efrain Araneda has at his disposal six Tahiti international players Stephane Faatiarau, Mickael Roche, Sylvain Graglia, Manuarii Hauata, Teheivarii Ludivion and Lorenzo Tehau.
Goalkeeper Michael Roche now 36 could play a vital role alongside experience striker Lorenzo Tehau.
Midfielder Teheivarii Ludivion has a huge role to play by pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
Already settling in well in Fiji, Central Sport had a friendly match against Nadi on Wednesday as both teams finished with a 1-1 draw at Prince Charles Park.
Efrain Araneda said atmosphere in the camp is positive ahead of the opener on Sunday against Solomon Islands Henderson Eels.
“We had a good run against Nadi today (Wednesday) and credit to the boys for putting on a great performance out there against a good Nadi team,” the Central Sport coach said.
“Everybody is looking forward to the first game on Sunday as it is very important to start with a positive result.
“We’re a family, the confidence is high in our camp and we can’t wait to compete in this tournament.”
AS Central Sport and Henderson Eels will open Group B fixtures on Sunday at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Fiji.