Words: ACFC Media
Friday 1 July 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - "We're not coming for a holiday" - Albert Riera says mental attitude and focus must be right ahead of trip across the harbour to take on relegation threatened Waiheke United.
It's been a season of struggle for Waiheke United with the team yet to register its first win but Riera has warned his players that if their attitude isn't right the hosts won't hesitate in punishing any slackness.
Waiheke have had five draws this season and snatched a point off both Western Springs and Auckland United at Onetangi Domain and in front of their fanatical support.
"I've followed Waiheke very closely this season. I know a lot of people there and they are very, very unlucky not to have picked up a few more points in some of their matches but they're in the situation they're in now, that's the reality.
"Their best qualities are that they never give in, they never give up and they have a great group of supporters who never stop giving the team everything they have.
"I believe they'll keep doing the same until the last game of the season or mathematically relegated and they'll bring a lot of battles to a lot of clubs until that moment.
"They'll never give an opponent a day off - I think they bring a lot to the league and I'd like them to stay up.
"For us to travel there is something different which means we need to get our head space right - we're not coming for a holiday.
"We have to keep doing what we're doing, keep playing the football that we're playing," he said.
Angus Kilkolly & Ryan De Vries
City go into the game with mixed news about player availability - Angus Kilkolly made a scoring return to action in the win over Eastern Suburbs but Ryan De Vries is taking his time on a comeback after a hip injury picked up against Hamilton Wanderers.
"After Wednesday's game we have some tired legs and as expected, some fatigue on the players bodies as it was the second game of the week. We expected some players to be tired after a tough game like the one we had.
"We were delighted to see Gussy back in the team and doing what strikers enjoy doing which is scoring goals. We're very happy for him, he hasn't had an easy time lately, for reasons we all know, so the best way for him to come back as a striker is to score goals.
"He loves to be on the grass and scoring goals and giving everything so we're very pleased to have him back.
"Ryan is coming back very well. He had picked up a hip knock against Hamilton but we suspected it wasn't going to be a major incident so he's coming back very positively and hopefully he's ready for the trip to Waiheke United.
"It's a situation we're taking day by day so we'll see how that evolves. We'll see how he goes in training but we won't force him into the anything,' he said.
Reid Drake set for history
One player with a notable milestone looming is Reid Drake.
The 27-year-old midfielder could make his 100th appearance for the club and become just the 20th player to achieve the milestone from the 220 odd who have pulled on the Navy Blues jersey.
Although the promise of a milestone won't earn sentimentality when it comes to ensuring team selection, Riera is a confirmed admirer of Drake's efforts in reaching 99 appearances and, eventually, triple figures.
"It's fantastic to see how Reid has applied himself over the years to reach the 100 games mark for the club. I think its very important for him, for his team-mates and the club to see players loyalty rewarded with a special achievement like this.
"I think Reid has to be proud but I'm personally not surprised he's nearly got there because his characteristics as a person speaks for itself. His perserverance, his work rate, each are second to none.
"He's always there with a smile on his face to work hard and he plays in an area of the pitch where it's very hard, very demanding and its tricky, but as time has progressed he's got better and better.
"I met Reid a long time ago when I was still playing and he's one of those youngsters who was patient and constantly training and constantly learning and the perseverance has paid off.
"We're all proud of him anyway but when he reaches 100 games, we'll all congratulate him," Riera said.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm NZDT and will be streamed live on the Waiheke United YouTube channel.
Auckland City FC U-23 play Waiheke United U-23 at Onetangi Domain and catch the same ferry across to the island as the first team. The match kicks off at 12.30pm NZDT.
Saturday 2 July 2022
Waiheke United v Auckland City FC
Onetangi Domain, Waiheke Island
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
TECHNICAL: Jarrod WALLACE
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
REFEREE: Chris TRENT
ASSISTANT REFEREE 1: Shawn LIU
ASSISTANT REFEREE 2: Khalid ELGANA
HEAD COACH - Thabiso Tleane
Tleane brings vast experience as one of the top qualified and knowledgeable coaches in New Zealand. Thabiso recently acquired OFC/NZ Football A license coaching badge. His coaching course was attended by a high number of experienced and notable Oceania national teams coaches, including the current All White head coach Danny Hay. Thabiso played in the NRFL Premier League with Manukau United FC, under coach Kevin Fallon. South African born, Tleane attended the South African professional football academy at the University of Pretoria (Tuksfootball), where he played, coached and studied a Bachelor degree in sports sciences.'Coach Tee” attained his Coaching Badges including his Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) B license through university of Pretoria FC.
PLAYER TO WATCH - Eyob Tekalion
With Waiheke United winless after 14 rounds of the Northern League season - and goals also hard to come by - it would nevertheless pay for Auckland City FC to keep an eye on Eyob Tekalion. Tekalion has been a threat to defences this season with a goal for Waiheke United against Auckland United in a 1-1 draw on May 1 and in the 3-3 draw with fellow strugglers North Shore United a week later. He also scored in the 1-1 draw with Western Springs on June 11 and one against Birkenhead United in a 5-3 defeat on 21 May.
Lotto NRFL 1st Division - 2021
BIGGEST WIN (LEAGUE)
v. Papatoetoe (H) won 7-0, 2017
v. Ngongotaha (A) won 7-0, 2017
BIGGEST DEFEAT (LEAGUE)
v. Mount Albert Ponsonby (A) lost 0-5, 2019
v. Forrest Hill Milford (H) lost 0-5, 2019
BIGGEST WIN (CHATHAM CUP)
v. FC Whangarei (H) won 12-1, 2020
BIGGEST DEFEAT (CHATHAM CUP)
v. Birkenhead United (H) lost 0-8, 1998
CURRENT FORM - NORTHERN LEAGUE
26.03.22 v. Manukau United (H) 0-3 (- | Golding 2, Linderboom)
02.04.22 v. Western Springs (A) 1-1 (Rangihaeata | Knight)
09.04.22 v. Eastern Suburbs (H) 1-3 (OG | Davies, Tomlinson, Built)
15.04.22 v. Auckland City FC (A) 0-4 (- | Tade, Kilkolly, Manickum, Brotherton)
18.04.22 v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) 0-3 ( - | Tieku 2, Singh)
23.04.22 v. Melville United (H) 1-6 (Timmins-Scanlon | OG, Colloty, Hayes, Kipara, Christensen-Rose, Dowling)
01.05.22 v. Auckland United FC (H) 1-1 (Tekalion | Blake)
07.05.22 v. North Shore United (A) 3-3 (Vanneste, Peredo, Faheem | Tekalion, Latorre, Timmins-Scanlon)
14.05.22 v. Bay Olympic (H) 0-3 (- | R. Nkoy 2, Byrne)
21.05.22 v. Birkenhead United (A) 3-5 (Taylor, Botica, Piper, Forrester, Hughes | Tekalion, Timmins-Scanlon, Vanina)
28.05.22 v. Takapuna AFC (A) 0-0
04.06.22 v. Manukau United (A) 2-3 (Vanina 2, Golding, Ozawa, Awad)
11.06.22 v. Western Springs (H) 1-1 (Tekalion | Ramsay)
25.06.22 v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) 1-2 (Nicolas Vanina | Baker, Champness)
CURRENT FORM - CHATHAM CUP
06.06.22 v. West Coast Rangers (A) 2-1 (Gallagher | Canay, Vanina)
18.06.22 v. Kiwi True Blues FC (A) 4-6 aet (M. Hearn, Peden, J. Peden 2 | Lindner 3, Llunes, Vanina, Herrera)
09.07.22 v. Melville United (A)
15.04.22 v Waiheke United (H) won 4-0 (Emiliano Tade, Angus Kilkolly, Dylan Manickum, Sam Brotherton)
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium