The region’s premier international club competition, the OFC Champions League, is taking shape for 2019 following the official draw at the OFC Headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand on Tuesday.
OFC President Lambert Maltock assisted competitions director Chris Kemp with proceedings which outlined the make-up of the four groups which will be played across the region.
In Group A, New Caledonia side Hienghène Sport will host a group for the second time after welcoming Team Wellington, Ba FC and Puaikura in 2016.
This time Felix Tazawa’s charges will be welcoming Papua New Guinea club champions Lae City Dwellers, Tahiti club AS Tefana and Vanuatu’s Malampa Revivors.
In Group B the role of hosts goes to 2018 OFC Champions League finalists Lautoka FC who will also be hosting a group for the second time after Churchill Park welcomed two groups back in 2014.
Lautoka will host the second Tahitian side AS Central Sport, the yet-to-be determined runners-up from the Solomon Islands’ S-League and Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Wawens, who will make their regional debut.
Vanuatu will play host to a group for the second year in-a-row with Erakor Golden Star set to play on home soil for the first time in this competition after being announced as host of Group C.
They will be joined by 2018 OFC Champions League winners Team Wellington, Fijian club side Ba FC, who return to Vanuatu for a second consecutive group stage, with the runner-up from the Qualifier to round out the group.
Group D will see a return to the Solomon Islands where the winner of the S-League will also earn the right to host following the success of 2018.
Auckland City FC will travel for the first time in two years after being drawn into Group D where they will be joined by AS Magenta of New Caledonia who return to Honiara for a second year running, with the Qualifier winner to join them.
The OFC Champions League will kick off in late January with the Qualifier which is being hosted in the Cook Islands with clubs from Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa competing with the Cook Islands champions.
The Group Stage of the annual competition will be held throughout February and March.