Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 29 April 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - “Kiricocho! Kiricocho! Kiricocho!” - Emiliano Tade explains how a bad luck charm helped Auckland City FC to a 4-3 win over Western Springs last Saturday.
Auckland City FC stayed top of the Northern League after beating Western Springs 4-3 at Kiwitea Street in an at times difficult to keep up with clash.
The Navy Blues looked in control at 3-1 up but a series of sloppy defensive errors combined with dogged perserverance by Chris Zoricich's young Springs side set up a dramatic and nerve shredding finish.
"It was a tough game at the end but we put purselves in trouble. I don't think the 4-3 result equals what actually happened on the pitch but we got a bit sloppy, our standards slipped a little bit and we allowed Western Springs a life they maybe didn't deserve.
"But overall I'm happy with the three points, happy we kept winning and happy to stay unbeaten at Kiwitea Street," Tade told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
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The turning point came late in the match came when Springs nearly made it 3-3. A wonderful cross dropped into the penalty box for former Navy Blues and All White striker Kayne Vincent who thumped a powerful header straight into Cam Brown's left-hand upright.
If skipper Tade's nerves were dangling by a thread he cheekily plays a straight face to the suggestion then reveals what he believes was the secret ingredient to Western Springs failure to score.
"I said "kiricocho". It's a bad luck charm, a word, used for number of years in La Liga and the EPL - just before an opponent kicks the ball you say, "kiricocho", and that's what I said before Kayne made the header for Western Springs.
"It brings bad energies to an opponent and thankfully Kayne's header hit the post and we won the game," he said.
To understand the word, we need to go back a fair few years and journey to Argentina.
Kiricocho was in fact a fanatical supporter of Argentinian first division club Estudiantes de la Plata during the club’s golden era of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. So fanatical was he that he would regularly attend training sessions. Yet every time he did, an Estudiantes player seemed to mysteriously get injured.
Estudiantes’ manager in the early 1980s, Carlos Bilardo – the high priest of anti-futbol who would go on to win the 1986 World Cup with Argentina – was highly superstitious. But rather than ban Kiricocho from training and matches, he employed him to welcome opposition teams to Estudiantes’ ground.
Estudiantes subsequently went on a brilliant run of form and won the Argentinian title in 1982, losing just one game in the season. Incidentally, it was the only game in which Kiricocho was not present to greet the opposition.
The story of the cursed Kiricocho spread throughout the Spanish-speaking football world; fans and players began to say Kiricocho’s name when they wished ill fortune on an opposition player.
By the time Bilardo came to manage Sevilla in the early 1990s, Kiricocho was muttered by those on the terraces at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan whenever opposition players stepped up for a penalty, much to Bilardo’s surprise.
According to Joan Capdevila, he even shouted it at Arjen Robben when the Dutchman was one-on-one with Iker Casillas in the 2010 World Cup final. You guessed it, Robben missed.
So, last Saturday at Kiwitea Street, Tade shouted “Kiricocho!” as Vincent was about to make contact with the ball.
Tade scored two crucial goals as Auckland City FC picked up a fifth straight win, goals that took the Argentine striker on to 118 career goals for the club since he signed in 2011.
Now 33, Tade is playing much deeper than when he started off in New Zealand football where he was often deployed as the main striker but the laid back forward is philosophical as always.
"I feel good playing where I am. It hasn't changed too much from previous positions I've played, I'm still playing in the pocket perhaps more centrally, but I'm driven by winning and scoring goals and so I guess for me it's just natural to enjoy it because that's who I am as a player and who I am as a person."
Sat 22 May 2021, Eastern Suburbs, KO: 3pm, Madills Farm