Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

The OFC Men’s Champions League 2024 kicks off this weekend in Tahiti, with the ever-closing gap between the region’s best club sides setting up what should be hotly contested tournament.

Auckland City arrive in Papeete looking to defend their hard-won title. Last year in Vanuatu, Albert Riera’s side suffered a semi-final scare, scoring in the last minute to force extra-time against Vanuatu’s Ifira Black Bird, before overcoming Fiji’s Suva FC in the final.

Earlier this year they edged past Wellington Olympic in the New Zealand National Playoff and will open their campaign in Tahiti against Rewa FC of Fiji on Saturday. Riera is aware of the threat posed by their Group A opponents and is confident his side will deal with the pressure that comes with being favourites.

“They know how hard it is to compete at this level, in the islands against these strong teams.

“It’s nice to be here. The players don’t need to work on their day jobs, so that we can focus on football, which is when they feel like they are full time professional footballers, and that gives us extra sort of levels of concentration,” Riera said.

Looking to upset the holders on the opening day is Rewa FC. Rodeck Singh is the youngest Head Coach at this years’ tournament and is happy with the preparation his team have been through as they look to make an impression in Papeete.

“The preparation has been going well. As you said, Auckland City is not an easy team – it’s a good team, a quality side.

“We were here last in 2022, we missed out on 2023 and now back here in 2024. A couple of boys are new, the young ones and they’re really raring to go out and have the experience of participating and playing with the with the top teams in Oceania,” he said.

Auckland City FC’s coach Albert Riera. OFC Men’s Champions League 2024, FTF Head Quarters Papeete, Tahiti, Thursday 9 May 2024. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Group A’s second match on opening day sees Solomon Warriors take on 2010 champions Hekari United. With the group promising to be a tight affair, putting down an early marker could make all the difference in the hunt for a semi-final place.

David Muta takes charge of Hekari United for the first time as Head Coach, having been assistant to Ericson Komeng last year in Vanuatu. Despite his relative inexperience, Muta has no doubts his side can hit the ground running on Saturday.

“The preparation was really good. I think we have a lot of time to prepare and I believe that our boys are here and they’re ready to compete,” he said.

On a personal note, the opportunity to lead his side as Head Coach into an OFC Champions League for the first time is not something that is lost on Muta.

“For me, I’m so happy. It’s not because of me, I think because of the players and the good management of the team. We have come this far because we work together as a team and as a unit.”

Hekari United Head Coach David Muta. OFC Men’s Champions League 2024, FTF Head Quarters Papeete, Tahiti, Thursday 9 May 2024. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Occupying the other bench on Saturday will be Solomon Warriors’ Head Coach Frank Ne’e, whose side will be looking to improve on their group stage exit in 2023.

Solomon Warrios were made to work hard in their National Playoff to qualify for the OFC Men’s Champions League and Ne’e is conscious of the challenge of building upon that success.

“To be a champion is hard and it’s very hard to defend the title. It’s very hard to represent the country. It’s very hard, but it’s challenging for sure. Everybody wants to beat us, but we know what we were capable of,” he said.

“After that challenge [in 2023], it motivated me to step up and to improve more in my football career as a coach. Now I’m bringing a team full of players who I will need, and I expect them to do more.”

Every match of the OFC Men’s Champions League 2024 will be streamed LIVE and FREE on FIFA+