Defending champions not taking rivals lightly


THE Oceania Football Confederation Champions League group A fixtures kick off on Sunday with defending champions Hienghene Sport, of New Caledonia, taking on Galaxy (12am kick-off).
Hienghene, who were the second club outside of Australia and New Zealand to compete in the Fifa Club World Cup after Hekari, head into the tournament as favourites but they won’t be taking the Vanuatu outfit lightly.
Hienghene coach Felix Tagawa told The National upon arrival yesterday that despite them being favourites, he said his side would not underestimate the other teams in group A.
He said they knew they were up against the best teams in the region and the match against Galaxy would be a test of strength for his side.
“It’s pretty hard to judge these teams as they are all top sides in the region,” Tagawa said.
“Galaxy are a quality side, they have some great talents and will be unpredictable.
“But we just have to wait till game day to find out. From there, we can judge.” Galaxy on the other hand appear to be a strong outfit with the likes of Brazilian imports Diego Maximo and Roberson Felipe who will coordinate their attack from midfield.
Up front, English import Terence carter will be looking to cause problems for the New Caledonia side.
Galaxy owner Andrew Leong told The National at the Jackson International Airport on Wednesday that Hienghene would be their biggest hurdle in the group.
But he said they came with the aim of qualifying for the quarterfinals and that they would let their performances do the talking on the field.
Meanwhile, in the second game of the double header, hosts Hekari United face New Zealand’s Eastern Suburbs at 3pm.

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