x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The United Nations of New Zealand football

My team Being from Sudan, football is in my blood. We support our teams in a colourful and passionate way, so being a fan of Auckland City is very emotional for me.

Auckland won the Oceania Champions League.
Auckland won the Oceania Champions League.

Being from Sudan, football is in my blood. We support our teams in a colourful and passionate way, so being a fan of Auckland City is very emotional for me. City are recognised as the premier domestic side in New Zealand. We have won four of the past five titles, despite only being formed in 2004, and have been crowned champions of Oceania twice: in 2006 and 2009. Kiwitea Street,our home ground, is like a mini United Nations on matchdays, with fans from all sorts of backgrounds cheering on the team. The opportunity to participate in the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi this December makes us immensely proud and suitably humble. Competing with the giants of world football such as Barcelona and the other confederation winners is the stuff of dreams for us. We are from a small country where football is overshadowed by rugby, so are grateful for the boost that our involvement in the Emirates will deliver to football in this part of the world. It might be difficult for football fans in other countries to comprehend the scale of our challenge though: almost all of our coaching staff and our players have other careers outside of football, so training is limited to at most, four times a week - normally starting at 6.30pm. Even though our team and support staff are amateur, however, they are fiercely committed and are driven by a resolve to succeed against. The club motto is "Strength in Unity". This sums us up perfectly. Our team will travel to Abu Dhabi with a burning desire to do our country and the Oceania region proud.