OFC Champions League draw reveals all

For the third year straight Vanuatu’s domestic champions Amicale FC will face off with the competition’s defending champions Auckland City FC in the group stage of the competition which will be held in Auckland and Wellington from 8-23 April, 2016.

Joining the two sides in Group A will be Papua New Guinea club Lae City Dwellers, a side making their regional debut, as well as the yet-to-be-determined Solomon Islands S-League winners.

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx witnessed the draw live, sharing a smile with captain Ivan Vicelich after learning their team would once again be taking on Amicale FC, a side they met twice in 2014 including the home-and-away final, and again in 2015.

“We are playing Amicale again, we’ve played them quite a few times in the past few years and that means we know them pretty well.”

Having once again been drawn against the Solomon Islands champions, Tribulietx says the group has turned out fairly similar to this year’s, with the addition of a Papua New Guinea side.

“We will have to do the proper scouting on these teams,” he says, “we need to try and get footage of all the teams, the first team we will play especially.

“With the second and third team we can watch them during the tournament but we will try and collect as much footage as we can. We know the style the Solomon Islands champs will play and even with PNG we have an idea.

“We know the style of football these nations play and we just have to tick all the boxes going into the competition.”

Group B will feature the 2016 OFC Champions League’s second host and 2015 runners-up Team Wellington.

Midfielder Alex Feneridis made the trip to witness the draw in which he saw his side drawn alongside Hekari United of Papua New Guinea, Suva FA of Fiji and New Caledonia club AS Lossi.

For the second year in-a-row, Team Wellington will face 2010 champions Hekari United, with the hosts hoping they can once again topple their opponent after securing a 2-0 victory in 2015.

The final group consists of Fiji club champions Nadi FC and AS Magenta of New Caledonia, both sides making a return after sitting out the previous edition, as well as AS Tefana and the OFC Champions League Preliminary winner.

Preceding the 2016 OFC Champions League draw was the draw for the preliminary competition which will be held in Cook Islands from 26-30 January.

Opening the action at the Cook Islands Football Association Complex in Matavera will be an intriguing encounter between 2014 OFC Champions League Preliminary winners Kiwi FC of Samoa and American Samoa club champions Utulei Youth FC.

Tonga champions Veitongo FC, who have ousted long-time domestic champions and three-time preliminary participants Lotoha’apai United, will open their campaign against Cook Islands club Tupapa Mararenga FC who are set to make their regional return.

2016 OFC Champions League Draw Results

Group A

  • Auckland City FC (NZL)
  • Amicale FC (VAN)
  • Lae City Dwellers (PNG)
  • Solomon Islands club champions (SOL)

Group B

  • Team Wellington (NZL)
  • Hekari United (PNG)
  • Suva FA (FIJ)
  • AS Lossi (NCL)

Group C

  • Nadi FC (FIJ)
  • AS Magenta (NCL)
  • AS Tefana (TAH)
  • OFC Champions League Preliminary winner (TBC)

2016 OFC Champions League Preliminary Tournament

  1. Utulei Youth FC (ASA)
  2. Kiwi FC (SAM)
  3. Veitongo FC (TGA)
  4. Tupapa Maraerenga (COK)

The OFC Champions League is the Confederation’s premier international club competition and brings together 12 of the top teams from around the Pacific to compete for the crown of regional club champion.

The 2016 tournament will be the 14th edition of this prestigious event which offers a much coveted prize – qualification to the FIFA Club World Cup.

Defending champions Auckland City FC will be chasing their eighth regional title come April, in a competition that has largely been dominated by themselves and Waitakere United.

Papua New Guinea club Hekari United became the first club outside of New Zealand or Australia to claim the prize with their 2010 victory, while Sydney FC, Wollongong Wolves and South Melbourne also have their place in the history books.