Coach to break Auck­land’s hold

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By ROD­NEY BROWN

New Team Welling­ton coach Matt Cal­cott is look­ing lo­cal to break the Auck­land mo­nop­oly in this sea­son’s ASB foot­ball pre­mier­ship.

De­spite hav­ing made the play­offs the past four sea­sons, Welling­ton is yet to win the com­pe­ti­tion, which starts on Oc­to­ber 23.

Cal­cott, 37, has re­placed Stu Ja­cobs, who has been named head coach of Manawatu. The former Miramar Rangers and Western Sub­urbs coach said there was enough lo­cal tal­ent, but the chal­lenge would be con­vinc­ing play­ers to com­mit to the fran­chise.

‘‘ We have enough foot­ballers in Welling­ton to be suc­cess­ful,’’ Cal­cott said.

‘‘Whether those play­ers put their names for­ward is an­other thing. That has been a prob­lem in the past – the best play­ers have not al­ways been avail­able.’’

Part of the dif­fi­culty re­tain­ing and re­cruit­ing the best play­ers was the at­trac­tion and the buy­ing power of the two teams who have dom­i­nated the league since it be­gan in 2004 – Auck­land City and Waitakere United.

Those teams of­fer play­ers a good chance to com­pete in the Ocea­nia cham­pi­ons league, the re­ward for teams fin­ish­ing in the top two of the pre­mier­ship.

Auck­land and Waitakere have won the Ocea­nia cham­pi­ons league in re­cent years and gained qual­i­fi­ca­tion to the Fifa World Club Cup.

When a New Zealand team qual­i­fies for the world event, it is re­warded with 35 per cent plus $ US50,000 of $US500,000.

The rest of the money is split be­tween New Zealand Foot­ball – 15 per cent – and the other seven ASB pre­mier­ship sides.

Team Welling­ton gen­eral man­ager Shaun Gill said the Ocea­nia cham­pi­ons league was some­thing Welling­ton would like to be part of.

‘‘ It’s very hard to break into. Auck­land and Waitakere have had a stran­gle­hold over the last few years,’’ he said.

‘‘It will be a dif­fi­cult but achiev­able tar­get for Team Welling­ton this sea­son.’’

Cal­cott said the po­ten­tial was there to qual­ify for the Ocea­nia league and it would help the club at­tract play­ers, but he did not ex­pect in­stant suc­cess.

‘‘We want play­ers who will buy into what we want to achieve, with a view to qual­i­fy­ing within the next cou­ple of years.’’

While at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing play­ers to Team Welling­ton has been a prob­lem pre­vi­ously, this sea­son might be dif­fer­ent, if Cal­cott’s his­tory is any­thing to go by.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful stint as head coach at Western Sub­urbs, which in­cluded two cen­tral league ti­tles plus a Chatham Cup ti­tle as as­sis­tant coach, he moved to Miramar Rangers, with sev­eral play­ers fol­low­ing him.

The play­ers’ loy­alty paid off when Miramar won the 2010 Chatham Cup.

Cal­cott ended his time with Miramar Rangers by guid­ing the team to the cen­tral league ti­tle with a vic­tory over Chatham Cup win­ners Wairarapa United.

New chal­lenge: Matt Cal­cott has taken over as Team Welling­ton soc­cer coach.

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