Player picked for Phoenix

Central Leader - - SPORT - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

There’s some­thing in the wa­ter at Ki­witea St.

The ground’s home team, Auck­land City FC, have gone from strength to strength in the last few sea­sons and are strong con­tenders to take home the ASB Pre­mier­ship ti­tle this year.

And scouts are start­ing to take no­tice, hand-pick­ing City play­ers to move up the New Zealand foot­ball lad­der.

The most re­cent as­cent is striker Roy Kr­ishna’s sign­ing to the Welling­ton Phoenix on Jan­uary 7 to re­place Paul Ifill un­til the end of the 2013-14 sea­son.

The move means he is poised to be­come the first Fijian foot­baller in the Hyundai A-League.

He fol­lows for­mer Auck­land team­mate Al­bert Riera who was signed to the only New Zealand side in the pro­fes­sional A-League in Oc­to­ber.

Auck­land City coach Ramon Tribu­li­etx says the team will feel the loss of the play­ers but on the whole it means good things for his club.

‘‘It’s good for the rep­u­ta­tion of the club. It’s not a good po­si­tion for us to lose Al­bert and Kr­ishna – they are good play­ers – but on the other hand it raises our rep­u­ta­tion in the world of foot­ball. The club has got to be happy that the world of foot­ball is look­ing at us.’’

Tribu­li­etx says the club has been strength­ened by pas­sion­ate sup­port­ers and now acts as a kind of ‘‘bridge’’ be­tween am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional foot­ball.

Kr­ishna says the chance to play with the pro­fes­sional Phoenix is a dream come true.

‘‘I love scor­ing goals and my goal is to get in the team and do just that. I am up for the chal­lenge and re­ally pleased that Auck­land City have al­lowed me to take up this op­por­tu­nity. They al­ways said that if a pro­fes­sional club came for me they would let me go and they have kept their word.’’

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