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Finally the champions of New Zealand football will get the chance to test themselves against the only fully professional football franchise in the country when Waitakere United host Wellington Phoenix in a friendly match at Douglas Field on November 15.
The match will serve as a timely and testing preparation for Waitakere United before they fly out to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
Waitakere United Executive Chairman Rex Dawkins is delighted to confirm the fixture, one that has been made possible by the great support of club partners Cuesports Foundation and The Trusts Charitable Foundation.
“After last season it was clearly evident that we needed a more thorough preparation before attempting to take on the fulltime professional clubs in Japan. Our issue has been finding teams to fit the bill without breaking the bank.
“Wellington Phoenix have not only answered that question in agreeing to play us at Douglas Field on the 15th November but they have committed to spending time with the children of Waitakere in a training session on Saturday morning, helping to spread the football message to the next generation of players.
“Tony Pignata and his team have been more than accommodating and are going out of their way to help us in pure ‘footballing’ terms but also promote their brand and players to the Auckland market.
“We must also acknowledge Stephen Williamson and Cuesports Foundation, without them the match simply wouldn’t be on and kids in Auckland would miss the chance to see the Phoenix play live. Cuesports is already such a huge factor in so much of our community activity and coaching, they have been superb again in making the Phoenix visit possible.”
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said the visit would benefit all parties involved.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to continue the growth of football throughout New Zealand, give Waitakere a decent hit-out ahead of the Club World Cup and for us at the Phoenix to give some of the fringe players in the squad some game-time.
“We also have a large number of fans in Auckland, many of whom aren’t able to come to our home games in Wellington, and I’m certain they’ll enjoy seeing us play at Douglas Field.”
The match has been priced at a more than reasonable level to give those fans the chance to not only see Waitakere in action before they head to Japan but to see the Phoenix and their array of Hyundai A-League stars in action in the flesh.
Waitakere United Head Coach Chris Milicich says the match and the timing is ideal.
“We are thrilled that Ricki will be bringing the boys to Auckland to play us at Douglas Field. This will replicate the pace of game and standard of skill that we will be up against in Japan but importantly it will happen almost a month out from the Club World Cup and so give us time to work on team pattern and individual skills before we reach Japan and take on an Asian team.
“To truly be competitive in Japan we must expose ourselves to a high standard of professional football as often as we can. To do it against the Phoenix is fantastic and will add some interest for the fans as well I’m sure.”
The match will be played at Douglas Field, Trusts Stadium on Saturday November 15th. Tickets are priced at $10 for adults and $5 for children and Senior Citizens.
The new all weather covered grandstand holds 3,000 seated fans, so football fans and families are urged to pre-purchase their tickets so as not to miss out. It is first in first served with regards the covered seating, albeit the ground has capacity to host many more on the grass banks on both sides and northern end of the ground.
The Phoenix will also host a training and meet and meet and greet for children on the Saturday morning. Details of this and how to be involved can be found at www.waitakereunited.co.nz
Waitakere United v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday 15th November 2008
Douglas Field, Trusts Stadium
Tickets on sale from Monday 20th October via www.waitakereunited.co.nz