Pacific contenders line up to break NZ hegemony

FIFATHE 2019 edition of the OFC Champions League gets into full swing this weekend with two of the four groups kicking-off.

Holders Team Wellington and record-nine winners Auckland City will sit out this weekend with only Groups A and B in action. With New Zealand’s dominance now stretching over eight seasons since Hekari United’s win in 2010, the Pacific island clubs will again attempt to challenge the status quo.

Once again all 11 OFC Member Associations are represented this season with four Polynesian nations competing in the recent preliminary stage. Cook Islands’ Tupapa Maraerenga and Samoa’s Kiwi progressed to join the 16-team field.

The top two in each of the four groups will progress to April’s knockout stage, with the final to be held on 12 May. This year, unlike the previous two seasons, the decider will be a single match.

Group A: Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia – host), Toti City (Papua New Guinea), AS Tefana (Tahiti), Malampa Revivors (Vanuatu)

Group B: Lautoka (Fiji – host), Central Sport (Tahiti), Henderson Eels (Solomon Islands), Morobe Wawens (Papua New Guinea)

Group C: Erakor Golden Star (Vanuatu – host), Team Wellington (New Zealand), Ba (Fiji), Kiwi (Samoa)

Group D: Solomon Warriors (Solomon Islands – host), Auckland City (New Zealand), AS Magenta (New Caledonia), Tupapa Maraerenga (Cook Islands)