5 Questions with Ramon Tribulietx

Words: ACFC Media

Thursday 21 October 2010

Picture: Phototek NZ

Preceded by the vote-selling scandal that hit the top of the Oceania Football Confederation, next Saturday will start the Oceania Champions League 2010-11. The decision of the Ethics Committee of FIFA to suspend OFC President Reynald Temari and Tonga FA General Secretary Ahongalu Fusimalohi, comes after the Sunday Times investigation revealed they offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 World Cup. An embarassing page embarrassing for Oceania football, that the eight teams taking part in the Continental most important competition for clubs will try to overshadow.
O-League 2010-11 starts with Hekari in the unprecedented role of defending champion and the two New Zealand teams Waitakere United and Auckland City as challangers. A script change for the two strongest teams in a competition too often reduced to a domestic derby affaire.
Hekari success took everyone by surprise and also increased the enthusiasm for the tournament in the other Pacific islands. And even outside Oceania there is a growing interest for this competition - an interest which began with the creation of the Fifa Club World Cup - especially after the recent Kiwis achievements at international level. New Zealand national team was the only one leaving 2010 World Cup unbeaten. An exploit that followed Auckland City's two victories against hosts Al Ahli and Africa's champions Mazembe during the 2009 Fifa Club World Cup. Amazing but short-lived revenge for New Zealand footballers, always forced to live in the shadow of Rugby and mighty All Blacks. A combination so unbalanced that it is unlikely to change in a short time. And if so hardly those results will be the first step towards greater success: they are more likely to remain quite memorable and unique moments. In their quest for more glory Auckland City, which hopes to win O-League for the third time in order to distance Waitakere rivals, brought some changes. The head coach Paul Posa left and was substituted with Aaron McFarland and Ramon Tribulietx, who introduces us to the Oceania Champions League 2010-11.

1. CHAMPS: 2010-11 O-League will be a two-horse-race between Auckland and Waitakere?
Ramon Tribulietx: Not really, this is an 8 team competition and first thing we have to respect all our rivals, and secondly last year Hekari United from PNG won the competition. The island nations are closing the gap and I'm sure it's gonna be a tight competition this season.

2. Any chances for Oceania champions Hekari to win at least a game in the 2010 Fifa Club World Cup?
RT: Well, the competition down in Abu Dhabi is a big step up for any club from this side of the world. I know that they're trying to lift their standard up as high as possible to be able to compete the game. It's a great effort from any club of that calibre and obviously, in a game of football anything can happen, but after our couple of wins last year I would imagine that the club from the Emirates will be well prepared for the game, so it will be very tough.

3. Hekari triumph last season stunned everyone. Which team could be this edition surprise?
RT: As I said before any team from the Island Nations can be very competitive right now, so every game will be very tough and, as last year, the good thing now is that anyone can win the competition.

4. Which are the most promising youngsters among the 8 teams involved in the next O-League?
RT: Well we've got a lot of young players in our squad and a lot of youngsters pushing from our Academy side, Waitakere have a lot of good young players in their squad as well so it's not easy to say who is going to step up. However, players like Ryan de Vries and Zane Sole are very young and potentially starters for them this season.

5. After 2009 Auckland City's heroics in the Fifa Club World Cup and the National team leaving unbeaten the 2010 World Cup in South Africa what will be New Zealand football next step?
RT: Keep up the good work. For a nation like New Zealand, without a professional league is not easy to put together a team able to compete at the highest stage. And for an amateur club like Auckland City FC is even more difficult. So we were very happy to reach that level, but keeping it that high will be tough.


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