After being nominated to replace Auckland City FC as Oceania’s representative at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021™, AS Pirae will make history this week as the first Tahitian side ever to appear at the tournament.
The 2019-20 Tahiti national league winners accepted the call up after Auckland City withdrew due to the border situation in New Zealand, which changed following the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
Pirae have themselves been impacted already by COVID-19, with seven players testing positive in Tahiti and therefore being unable to fly to Abu Dhabi.
The Naea Bennett-coached Tahitians will take on host club Al Jazira in the opening match of the tournament at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, with the winner progressing to the second-round fixture against 2021 Asian Champions League winners Al Hilal and the loser being eliminated.
Opposition at a glance
Al Jazira won the UAE Pro League last year by winning 17 of a possible 26 games and qualify for this tournament as the host club. Among their current squad is former Ajax player and capped South African international Thulani Serero, along with Malian duo Oumar Traoré and Abdoulay Diaby. At the time of writing they sit fifth in the UAE Pro League.
Click here to view the AS Pirae squad
Click here to view the Al Jazira club squad
FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021™ – first round
5.30am kick-off on February 4, 2022 (NZT)
Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium
Main photo credit: AS Pirae