Fans wanting to follow Oceania’s premier international club competition in 2017 can get their diaries out as the match schedule for the OFC Champions League 2017 has been confirmed.
OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp was pleased to be able to announce the match schedule for the Group Stage of the competition ahead of the OFC Champions League Qualifiers which get underway in 11 days.
“The majority of the sides taking part in this year’s competition have been identified with Vanuatu and Solomon Islands finding their club champions in late 2016,” Kemp explained.
“We are now just counting down to the qualifier, which is taking place at the end of this month in Tonga, to identify our final two competing clubs.”
The winner of the qualifier, which sets the club champions from Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa and Samoa against each other, will be heading to New Caledonia’s northern city of Konè, where Group B awaits them.
The group includes host club Hienghène Sport, 2016 OFC Champions League runners-up Team Wellington and Ba FC.
The qualifier runner-up will slot into Group A which is being held in New Caledonia’s capital Noumèa, hosted by 2016 OFC Champions League semi-finalists AS Magenta and also featuring Hekari United and AS Central.
Group C, which is taking place at Mangere Centre Park in Auckland, New Zealand, pits defending champions Auckland City FC against Lae City Dwellers, Vanuatu debutants Malampa Revivors and Solomon Islands runners-up Western United.
The fourth and final group will be hosted by AS Tefana in Tahiti with Erakor Golden Star, another Vanuatu club set to make their debut, Marist FC and Rewa FC.
The kick-off times for each group have also been finalised by the OFC Competitions Department, with Group A and B setting 17h00 and 20h00 for each match-day.
The earliest kick-off times will be for Group C in Auckland where matches will be played at either 13h00 or 16h00, with Group D also opting for evening matches with kick-offs at 18h00 and 21h00.
The OFC Champions League is the Confederation’s premier international club competition and brings together the top teams from around the Pacific to compete for the crown of regional club champion.
The 2017 tournament will be the 15th edition of this prestigious event which offers a much coveted prize – qualification to the FIFA Club World Cup.
Defending champions Auckland City FC will be chasing their ninth regional title, in a competition that has largely been dominated by themselves and Waitakere United.
Papua New Guinea club Hekari United became the first club outside of New Zealand or Australia to claim the prize with their 2010 victory, while Sydney FC, Wollongong Wolves and South Melbourne also have their place in the history books.
Story courtesy of OFC. For more on OFC Champions League visit www.oceaniafootball.com