City’s Oly Whites help seal Paris Qualification

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 10 September 2023

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC trio Joe Lee, Liam Gillion and Nathan Lobo were all smiles after New Zealand have secured their spot in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with a crushing 9-0 win over Fiji in the the final of the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier tournament at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium on Saturday night.

Gillion was involved from the outset before striking a fantastic free kick to get on the scoresheet while Lee and Lobo both looked lively as they linked up after coming off the bench in the second half.

Following a successful OFC Champions League campaign in May and a third consecutive Northern League title on the back of  an unbeaten season with Auckland City FC earlier this month, the Navy Blues young guns couldn’t hide their delight as they celebrated their latest success.

“This six months have been unreal, I have been with a bunch of good lads especially in this campaign I’ve been surrounded by good boys and it’s been great every single day and I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” said Lee.

Meanwhile  Lobo has expressed similar sentiments and said the recent successes at club and international level are a major motivating factor.

“It’s been a great year and being with such great boys and teams like Auckland City  and the New Zealand U-23 team, it’s great to win trophies over and over again and I guess when you keep winning the hunger is always there," he explained.

Liam Gillion was also thrilled and especially pleased with finding the net in the final.

“It feels great, it’s an honour to play for my country and to finally get a goal it’s a good feeling, lost for words at the moment, I’m buzzing,”

All three players know there is still plenty of work ahead of them to make the final squad for the Paris Olympics but they are determined to fulfil  their dreams.

“It’s a dream of mine and something that I always wanted to do since I was a young kid and that would be such a cool, cool experience if I was part of the squad,” Lee said.

Lobo shared his teammate’s thoughts.

“To be an Olympian is a dream and I think for all athlete of any type that would be a dream so hopefully it all goes well,  we keep working hard and  hopefully we go to Paris.

Gillion is also prepared to stay focussed on his goal of booking his flights to Paris for the the 2024 Summer Games.

“Obviously it’s still a lot of hard work but yeah it would mean a lot to put the Ferm on again and go and show what I can do.”

Ends

Northern League R10

Wed 17 July, Birkenhead United, Croatian Club, KO:7.30pm

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