It’s been a while, but Auckland City’s Argentinian striker Emiliano Tade ensured he made an impact in his first match back in the OFC Champions League.
The author of two goals in the side’s opening encounter against Fijian side Ba FC at Stade Pater, which Auckland City dominated with relative ease to secure a 6-0 victory, Tade was relishing his return to a competition Auckland City FC has made their own.
Tade’s last appearance was in the semi-final of the 2018 edition of the competition against Team Wellington.
“It’s an unbelievable experience to play in all the islands in Oceania and I’m happy to be back.
“Not just in the competition, but happy to be back home as well,” Tade said of his return to the club and New Zealand.
“We wanted to come here and make a statement, as the coach said, and we did.”
The 32-year-old was a top performer for the Sandringham-based club during his first stint, notching an impressive 107 goals in 162 appearances.
While he’s one of the more experienced members of the team, at the end of a professional career which has seen him play for clubs in both his native Argentina and South Africa, he considers himself the new kid on the block.
“I knew all the guys from before, they’re familiar faces,” he explained of his teammates. “Changes happen every year and I guess I was the new guy this year. You should probably be asking them what it’s like to play with me, I’m the new face actually.”
Switching between amateur and professional can be challenge, however Tade believes the set-up at City makes it easy.
“I would say it’s hard to compare one thing to another, but Auckland City is probably one of the most professional clubs that I’ve played for,” he stated.
“It’s very professional behind the scenes, the things people don’t see. But it’s not just what happens in the league, or in the environment, it’s a mind-set and Auckland City has got that mind-set even if it’s playing in an amateur league.”
Even making his return under a new coach hasn’t phased Tade who is thrilled to be working with his former Central United boss Jose Figueira.
“It’s great to have someone who understands football in the way, and in a passionate way, that I do.”
Tade’s final statement on what to expect from Auckland City in the 2020 edition?
“The same as always, bring the Champions League back home. Simple.”