Auckland City FC’s attacking midfielder Logan Rogerson can’t wait for the start of New Zealand’s 2020-21 domestic national premiership which is set to get underway this weekend.
The Navy Blues will host Eastern Suburbs AFC at Kiwitea Street on Sunday and Rogerson said his side was prepared and excited to get their title defence going.
The 22-year old All White’s last competitive outing for City was in March during the group stages of the OFC Champions League in Tahiti before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of Oceania’s premier club football competition.
The setbacks continued for Rogerson who suffered a fractured leg during the winter football season, but following plenty of hard work and rehabilitation the former Wellington Phoenix player is ready to put all the frustration behind him.
“It’s so easy to look at the negatives of what happened this year with COVID and the injury, but at the same time I think it was also opportunity to reflect on our achievements and our season with Auckland City,” he said.
“Before COVID we had a great run, we didn’t lose a game and despite all that happened I think it was important to try and take out a few positives from 2020.
“It just made us appreciate a bit more how important football is and when something like COVID-19 takes it away from you, it makes it even more special when it returns.
“I think it’s exciting, everybody is refreshed, the team is looking very sharp and we all are really looking forward to the new season.”
Rogerson said the forced break helped him and his teammates to refocus as well as strengthening their determination at domestic and regional level.
“We haven’t been playing much football recently so we are all eager to get back on the pitch, the morale is excellent.
“Obviously the first target is to do well here in New Zealand so we can go on and compete at the next edition of the Oceania Champions League.
“The domestic league is a very tough and strongly contested competition but Auckland City have also proven over the years that we can excel in the OFC Champions League.
“In the last couple of years we haven’t been as successful or as dominant as before, a number of island teams have improved significantly and the competition is much tighter, which is good for us and the game across the Pacific.
“It is very important for Auckland City to prove ourselves once again at the Oceania stage and set our sights back onto the Club World Cup.”
Despite plenty of uncertainty surrounding the international football calendar Rogerson remained optimistic about the year ahead and after captaining the New Zealand U-23 side to Olympic qualification he is more determined than ever to achieve his boyhood dream of representing his country at the Games in Tokyo next year.
“For sure, the Olympics was probably the biggest downfall to come from COVID-19. I think as a kid everyone wants to play at the Olympics, and for me it was huge and it was disappointing when it was taken away, but hopefully next year when it is planned to happen, hopefully I will be there, it a huge international stage and I want to be part of it.”
Rogerson’s long road to Tokyo will begin in Auckland this weekend with the Navy Blues.
For more information on the 2020-2021 ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership click here.