Auckland City head coach Albert Riera says being underdogs can be an advantage as his team heads to Morocco for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The Navy Blues face Egyptian Premier League leaders Al Ahly in the first round, sudden death tie on Tuesday February 2 (8am, NZT).
“I think sometimes to be the underdog is an advantage, to be honest, so I know the pressure is going to be huge on them because again they are a massive team in Africa and I know the crowd are going to be expecting them to win easy,” Riera told 1News.
Main photo: Albert Riera … ready for the FIFA Club World Cup. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Assistant coach Ivan Vicelich points out Al Ahly are unbeaten in 15 games, are midway through their season and will be favourites to win.
“So for us, we have to prepare really well and we have to hope that everything goes well for us on the day,” Vicelich told 1News.
Meanwhile, the youngest player in the travelling squad, Adam Mitchell (26), has been given a vital job for the Navy Blues.
Newshub reports he has been given custody of club mascot, Cam, a soft toy Kiwi, who was taken to previous Club World Cups by longtime kitman Arthur Egan.
The Auckland City contingent were leaving New Zealand on two flights on Monday and Tuesday, heading for Spain where they will play three warm-up games while in training camp near Barcelona.
Pool of 26 match officials named for tournament
Meanwhile, FIFA have announced a pool of 26 match officials for the tournament, including six referees, 12 assistant referees and eight video match officials.
None of the officials are from the Oceania region. Click here to download the list of officials >>>>