Coach to break Auckland’s hold
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.