Lea'alafa jets into Dubai

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 1 December 2017

Picture: Phototek

DUBAI, UAE - Micah Lea'alafa finally joined up with his Auckland City FC team-mates after an anxious 48-hour wait in Singapore due to a visa issue.

Frustratingly for coach Ramon Tribulietx, Lea'alafa, 26, has yet to kick a ball for the Navy Blues this season because of visa red tape in New Zealand and that story looked set to continue when he was stood down off his connecting flight to Dubai.

But that obstacle ended late last night when Auckland City FC officials were able to secure Lea'alafa's ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup.

"I was very disappointed with the visa situation but since I'm back with Auckland City FC I know I will have to work hard to earn a starting spot with the team.

"It was very stressful to be stuck in Singapore and I didn't know what to do next but its behind me now and I want to help the team win the first game of the FIFA Club World Cup.

"The club did a good job to make sure I arrived in Dubai safely and I'm thankful to everyone who made it possible.

"This is just the beginning of the journey for me and the FIFA Club World Cup and I want to repay the club's faith with a good performance," Lea'alafa said.

Assistant coach Ivan Vicelich said it was a relief Lea'alafa was cleared to play following an anxious wait.

"We've been waiting for Micah for a long time and its great the visa issue has been resolved. Micah has a special talent and quality in the game and we want to see more of it.

"He's going to get a lot of training minutes into his legs and thats great for the squad," Vicelich said.

The Solomon Island international has played 41 games for the Navy Blues and scored an impressive 17 goals during his two seasons with the club.

Lea'alafa took part in an early evening training session at the Dubai Sports City complex yesterday.

Auckland City FC move from their preparatory base to Al Ain as preparations for the showdown with Al Jazira sharpen.

The Navy Blues plans for a second friendly match have been shelved following the withdrawal of their opponents at the last moment.

Auckland City FC will instead train twice - a morning session in Dubai before moving on to their training base in Al Ain for an evening hit out. 

Al Jazira maintained their eight match unbeaten run to the Arabian Gulf League with a 2-1 away win at Al Sharjah last night.

Goals for Ali Ahmed Mabkhout were enough to cancel out Al Sharjah's opening goal.

Al Jazira completed the match with ten men after Eissa Saqer Al Otaiba was sent off in the last minute.

Auckland City FC face Al Jazira in the FIFA Club World Cup on Thursday 7 December at 6am NZST.

The winner of that match advances to the quarter-final showdown with Asian Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds.

The prize for a win in the last eight is a dream clash with European champions Real Madrid in Abu Dhabi on 13 December.




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