Photo Credit: VFF Media

Ifira Black Bird FC head into this year’s OFC Men’s Champions League in confident mood following an impressive display in 2023 and will be keen to show they can become a regular title contender in Oceania.

The Vanuatu side were one of the standouts at last years tournament, when they came within seconds of knocking out eventual winners Auckland City FC at VFF Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila.

A goal conceded deep into stoppage time against the defending champions denied Ifira the victory after 90 minutes, and despite holding out for a penalty shootout, they eventually exited in heartbreaking fashion. Such are the margins in football.

Ifira Black Bird FC’s Jean Robert Yelou. OFC Champions League 2023, Semi final 1, Auckland City FC v Ifira Blackbird FC, VFF Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu, Wednesday 24th May 2023. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Coach Robert Yelou is back for another crack this year. Ifira overcame Classic FC in their National Playoff, thanks to a 2-1 away win in the first leg, followed by a 1-1 draw in the return fixture to secure their place in Tahiti.

One player not returning is Vanuatu international defender Timothy Boulet, who impressed Auckland City last year so much they signed him, though the imposing stopper will not be part of the defending champions squad for the tournament.

Ifira Black Bird FC have been drawn in Group B and face matches against AS Magenta of New Caledonia, Tahiti’s AS Pirae and Vaivase-tai FC of Samoa in the group stage.

Ifira Black Bird FC’s Jordy Tasip. OFC Champions League 2023, Tiga Sport v Ifira Black Bird, VFF Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu, Sunday 21st May 2023. Photo: Kirk Corrie /

Player to Watch

Jordy Tasip returns following an impressive showing in 2023. The 24 year-old started every match for Ifira Black Bird FC in the OFC Men’s Champions League last year and converted a penalty in the shootout loss to Auckland City.

Goals will be key to Ifira’s chances of making an impact in Tahiti and all eyes will be on Tasip as one of his side’s leading creative outlets.