By LARRY ANDREW
COACH Peter Gunemba says he is confident of Toti City rising to the occasion when they meet Auckland City in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League quarterfinals on Saturday.
Toti City take on Auckland for a chance to play the winners of the match between New Caledonia’s Magenta and Tahiti’s Central Sport.
“I am happy that the Tusbab Stallions and other teams in the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League (Northern Conference) have given us a good challenge, so that we can rise the Champions League task,” Gunemba said yesterday.
“All the matches we’ve played so far have helped in a great way.
“I am confident that we will give Auckland City a tough challenge.
“My players have the attitude of rising to the occasion and in a competition such as the Champions League, they know that the teams in it are strong.
“However, my players are not going to give the game away. They will give their best.”
Gunemba, pictured, said City lost 2-1 and 2-0 in their previous meetings with Auckland, with the defending NSL champions playing the entire second half one man short in their most recent encounter.
He said despite Auckland being the favourites, his players were eager to give their all for Papua New Guinea.
Gunemba said they would not underestimate Auckland’s potency in attack.
“For us, it is all about going to New Zealand and executing our game plan,” he said.
“If we show respect, saying ‘Auckland are the better team’, it will not do us any good.
“So we will give our best for our country and if we get the win, then obviously that will be very good.
“If we lose, we do not want to go down by a big margin. But for us, we are not thinking about losing.”
Gunemba said he would be relying on his son Raymond, Nigel Dabinyaba, Emmanuel Simon, Jacob Sabua and Michael Foster to lead City.
He said the team had been working hard on their defence to limit Auckland’s goal-scoring opportunities.
Meanwhile, sponsors Lae Biscuit Company presented City with training gear yesterday.
By LARRY ANDREW