Auckland City vs Ba friendly announced
Auckland City FC's ties with the Fijian community took a step closer today with confirmation of a pre-season friendly with Ba announced.
Auckland City defeated Ba in the OFC Champions League semi-finals last season and the two sides clash again at Bill McKinley Park on Wednesday 25 September as part of the navy blues pre-season preparations.
match is part of an impressive pre-season schedule that includes a glamour friendly with the Wellington Phoenix on September 28 at Kiwitea Street and another clash with a Fijian Select XI on 12 October.
Mangere United - a club hub for the Fijian and Pacific Island community in South Auckland - helped promote the 2013 OFC Champions League semi-final match against Ba a match that drew a capacity crowd in excess of 3,000 patrons drawn largely from Auckland’s Fijian community.
Auckland City chairman Ivan Vuksich praised Mangere United for their input at a formal meeting held yesterday.
“Mangere United approached us not long after the semi-final draw was made and offered their assistance in any way possible to help us manage a fixture that was sure to test us logistically in terms of the expected crowd numbers.
"In some ways the match was actually like an ‘away’ game with the large majority of the crowd supporting Ba," he said.
Ba - who lost the 2007 OFC Champions Final to Waitakere United - were no match for the navy blues losing 7-1 over two legs.
But the clamour for tickets meant Auckland City was only too happy to receive help from Mangere United.
“Mangere United helped co-ordinate ticket sales and the club's close ties with Auckland’s Fijian community enabled us to effectively communicate messages concerning matters such as traffic and parking management and security protocols to fans prior to the match.
"These things were important to ensure the event went well on match day and we are very grateful for the generous support we received from Mangere United.
“We would also like to acknowledge the terrific support we received from Radio Apna 990AM, Radio Tarana, Ethnic Media 360 and New Zealand Fiji Football Inc," Vuksich said.
After consultation with Mangere United club officials Iliyas Daud and Mohammed Imran it was decided to pre-sell tickets for the match from two venues: Auckland City’s Kiwitea Street clubrooms along with Mangere United’s Centre Park headquarters.
That relationship looks sets to continue with Auckland City's latest two pre-season friendlies likely to rekindle rivalries from past seasons.
“One of the great things about football is the way it brings people together and Auckland City FC is sincerely grateful for the assistance we received from Auckland’s Fijian community," Vuksich said.
Auckland City FC presented a framed memento from the match along with a pennant to Mangere United club officials to acknowledge the club's appreciation of their efforts.
Photo caption: Auckland City chairman Ivan Vuksich (second from left) presents a memento of appreciation to Mangere United officials (L-R) Feroz Hasan (President) James Kado (Chairman) & Iliyas Daud (Vice-President)
Wednesday 25 September, 2013
At Bill McKinley Park
Auckland City FC (NZL) v Ba (FIJ)
Kick-off: 7.30pm (NZST)
Saturday 28 September, 2013
At Kiwitea Street
Auckland City FC (NZL) v Wellington Phoenix (AUS)
Kick-off: 2pm (NZST)
Ticket Sales information available at www.aucklandcityfc.com
Saturday 12 October, 2013
At Centre Park
Fiji Select XI v Auckland City FC
Kick-off: 3pm (NZST)
PHOTO CREDIT: Colin Cook/ACFC Media