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The Confusing World Of Kiwi Club Football

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Contributor:
Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

It was only a friendly and yet it said so much about the state of New Zealand club football. Australian League, New Zealand based Wellington Phoenix hammered NZFC and Oceania champions Waitakere United 7-0. A thumping that highlighted the gulf between the two spheres of club football.

Yet it is Waitakere who are heading to Japan to compete in the World Club Cup in December alongside the best from each confederation including Manchester United.  

For the uninitiated here’s why New Zealand football is in such a quagmire.  Football

Wellington plays in the Australian league that is part of the Asian confederation.

Yet an ultimatum from the Asian Football Confederation to Australian officials regarding having a foreign team in the league has threatened the very existence of the Phoenix at a time when Wellington are playing fantastic football. This despite the devastating impact it will have as it is the only professional New Zealand club outfit at which many of the All Whites ply their trade.

Still uncertain if success in the A – League will allow them to play in the Asian Champions League, Wellington was offered a place in the Oceania equivalent, the O – League to help the quality of Oceania but knocked it back.  

Instead they wanted to focus on gaining acceptance into Asia.  

Further compounding the issue was FIFA not guaranteeing Wellington a spot in the World Club Cup should they win the O – League – a near certainty if there can be such a thing in football given the friendly result.  

Confused?  

You’re not alone.  

Waitakere head to Japan this month with more than just pride at stake after FIFA President Sepp Blatter threatened Oceania clubs with exclusion from the competition unless they lift their game in the competition  

So Waitakere are being asked for the performance of their lives otherwise the only chance for Kiwi clubs to play on the global stage may disappear.  

However, should they lose heavily against Adelaide United it may finally convince FIFA to reexamine the future of Oceania.  

There is a heavy weight on the clubs shoulders.

Meanwhile the Phoenix is left in a political quandary not of their own making, too big to compete in the O – League yet from the wrong country to be truly accepted into Asia.

Since Australia left for its prosperous move into Asia, Oceania and New Zealand football has been left behind.  

The double ultimatums to Wellington and Waitakere are unjust.  

New Zealand and Oceania need the governing bodies with the political power to assist them by coming to some consensus about the future of the confederation with the best option surely being the full inclusion into Asia.

It can only help the development of the game in the region, bring it in from its isolation and end the confusion. 

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