Preparations underway for Club World Cup

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 8 January 2023

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC returned to training as preparations for the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco step up.

City qualified for the Club World Cup after winning their first OFC Champions League title in six years last August and now face CAF Champions League runners-up Al Ahly in the playoff match on February 1.

Al Ahly were beaten finalists in the CAF Champions League with Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca taking the honours.

With Morocco hosting the tournament and no participating nation able to field two clubs, Al Ahly slotted in to the position usualy reserved for the host nation's league champions.

Auckland City FC last faced the Egyptian giants on 10 December 2006 in Toyota City, Japan, when goals by Angolan international Flavio and Egyptian football legend Mohamed Aboutrika gave the Africans a 2-0 victory.

The Navy Blues depart New Zealand on January 16 and 17 in two groups for a training camp at the Futbol Salou Sports Center near Barcelona.

Albert Riera's team will play three friendly matches before leaving Spain for Morocco five days prior to the clash with Al Ahly.

"It's always very exciting to be part of such an important tournament as the FIFA Club World Cup and you can tell from the way the players turned up to training very early how motivated they are to do well.

"The way they trained shows they're aware we have something very special ahead of us in something that is very unique.

"We're very fortunate to have a lot of experience on and off the pitch of what a FIFA Club World Cup entails and we understand the type of preparation you need to have before you kick a ball.

"We need friendly games with opponents that are going to be very similar to what we're going to encounter.

"That's why we are going to the Futbol Salou Sports Center in Spain and we're planning to play three friendly games that are yet to be confirmed.

"Our players are going to suffer and they're going to struggle and work hard to get up to speed but in many ways this is where we want be.

"I've watched a few Al Ahly games so far. They're a massive club, probably the most successful club in Africa in regards of trophies and they have a very good squad and very good players.

"They're top of the Egyptian league and haven't lost a game yet and I expect their fitness levels to be very sharp. But the beauty of football is that anything is possible. The beauty of football is that you always have a chance, it might be slim, it might not, we'll see.

"The 90 minutes ahead we hope to be competitive and give our best for Auckland City FC, our National League, Oceania and football in New Zealand in general," Riera told www.aucklandcityfc.com.

Ends

Auckland City FC - Training Schedule

Tuesday 10 January 2023
Training
Nixon Park, Auckland
5.30pm NZDT

Wednesday 1 January 2023
Training
Nixon Park, Auckland
5.30pm NZDT

Thursday 12 January 2023
Training
Nixon Park, Auckland
5.30pm NZDT

Friday 13 January 2023
No training

Saturday 14 January 2023
Training
Nixon Park, Auckland
9.30am NZDT

Sunday 15 January 2023
Intersquad Game
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
TBC

Monday 16 January 2023
Auckland City FC depart for FIFA Club World Cup

Tuesday 17 January 2023
Auckland City FC depart for FIFA Club World Cup

Wednesday 1 February 2023
FIFA Club World Cup
Al Ahly v Auckland City FC
Morocco
KO: TBC
Venue: TBC

MEDIA CONTACTS

Agustin Fernandez
Auckland City FC - Media Officer
M: +64 (0) 27 523 7779
E: agustin.fernandez@aucklandcityfc.com 

General Media Inquiries
E: media@aucklandcityfc.com 

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