Long-time All White Ivan Vicelich has become the second recipient of Friends of Football’s Medal of Excellence.
He received the honour at the 2014 Celebration of Excellence event in Auckland where tributes were made by his footballing peers.
The Medal of Excellence is awarded to those in the game deemed to have excelled in their contribution to New Zealand football.
In 2013, legendary 1982 All Whites coach John Adshead became the first recipient of the medal, when Friends of Football hosted a tribute dinner in Auckland. Vicelich joins Adshead, having achieved at every level of the game.
Vicelich made more than 500 first-team appearances for clubs in New Zealand, Holland and China – with more than 120 appearances for Auckland City.
At representative level, he played for New Zealand at Under 17, Under 20 and Under 23 level, making his full international debut in 1995 against Uruguay.
Since then, Ivan has made more appearances in full internationals than any other All White – 88 appearances over a period of 18 years. In 2014, he announced his retirement from international football – but he did the same in 2008, saying his days as an All White were over.
Of course, two years after his first attempt at retirement, he went to South Africa to help the All Whites go undefeated through the FIFA World Cup Finals.
During his career, he’s helped teams win four Chatham Cups; four NZ Football Championships and four Oceania Football Confederation club championships.
In 2002, he was awarded New Zealand’s International Player of the Year and in 2009, he was named Oceania Footballer of the Year. Now he adds another award to the long list he’s earned as one of New Zealand and Oceania’s greatest footballers.
In late 2014, Vicelich helped Auckland City to third place at the FIFA Club World Cup and was named third best player at the tournament.
Photo: from left, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Ivan Vicelich. Photo courtesy of FIFA.com.
Main photo: Vicelich scores for Auckland City. Image: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.co.nz
Click on the following link to read more about Vicelich and Auckland City’s achievements at the FIFA Club World Cup: