City focus on Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Auckland City FC’s FIFA Club World Cup preparation is on track after a quick succession of morale boosters for the team while in Japan.
City overcame J-League second division side Matsumoto Yamaga 2-0 in near-freezing conditions in Tokyo on Saturday.
This was two days after coach Ramon Tribulietx was named Sport Auckland’s Coach of the Year.
Tribulietx says it is a privilege to be recognised on an individual basis but the award is also a credit to the club as a whole.
‘‘It means the work the players, coaching staff and the club have put in behind the scenes has been unbelievable.’’
The Spaniard was selected ahead of Junior White Sox women’s softball coach Venita Hokai and Auckland Aces cricket coach Paul Strang.
Tribulietx became the first coach in New Zealand’s National League football history to lead his team to an undefeated record in the regular season phase of the competition during 2011-12.
A victory over AS Tefana in the OFC Champions League quickly followed which ensured Auckland City qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup for the second year in a row.
The qualification secured a US$500,000 financial windfall for the club and New Zealand Football. They also have a shot at doubling that amount if they can beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima tomorrow.
Auckland City was pipped at the post for Team of the Year by Olympic gold medal sailors Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie after their performances in London.
Mt Albert Ramblers Softball Club took out the Club of the Year accolade ahead of Auckland City’s Chatham Cup-winning feeder club Central United.
Auckland City’s clash with J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima will be televised live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.45pm tomorrow and aucklandcityfc.com will have live play-by-play coverage of the match. The winner will take on African champions Al Ahly in the quarter-final on Sunday night.
Morale booster: Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx was named Sport Auckland’s Coach of the Year at the Sporting Excellence Awards.
Go to centralleader.co.nz and click Latest Edition to hear about the team’s preparations from goalkeeper coach Grant Robertson.