AS Magenta skipper Jean-Brice Wadriako has his eyes firmly fixed on the big prize as the New Caledonian giants prepare to host Group C of the OFC Champions League at Noumea’s Stade Numa-Daly.
Following the bitter disappointment of being pipped at the post in last year’s title decider by fellow New Caledonian outfit Hienghene Sport, Wadrioka is adamant his side won’t need any extra motivation as they embark on their brand new continental campaign with Sunday’s opening matchday.
“We lost the final last year so it’s important for the boys to come back and try and win the trophy we lost. We take each game as if it were a final, and the overall objective is to make it to the final,” said the 27-year old defender.
Drawn into a group with Solomon Warrriors, AS Tiare Tahiti and Cook Islands qualifiers Tupapa Maraerenga, Wadrioka believes he will lead a well balanced side capable of reaching the knock-out stages before going on to challenge for the Oceania crown.
“We have held onto the same players as last year and we’ve also had a couple of new guys come in to complete the group. We work hard during our trainings to evolve in the hopes of winning this competition,” explained the AS Magenta captain.
Following defending champions Hienghene Sport’s surprise early exit from Group A in Port Moresby, it left Magenta as the sole New Caledonian representative in this year’s competition.
Although that could add to the already existing pressure which often comes with home ground advantage and expectations, Wadrioka remains optimistic about his side’s chances.
“To play at home is a good thing for the New Caledonian public, the pressure, well, there’s only one team left in the competition from New Caledonia so we have to hope we’ll be able to make it to the end,” he added.
AS Magenta will kick of their OFC Champions League 2020 campaign against Cook Islands qualifiers Tupapa Maraerenga FC at 7:00pm local time on Sunday March 1, at Noumea’s Stade Numa-Daly.
In Sunday’s opening match, Solomon Warriors will face tournament newcomers AS Tiare Tahiti from 4:00pm at the same venue.
To view the results, match schedule and latest news for the OFC Champions League 2020 Click Here