Soccer: Veteran shows no sign of slowing down

By Terry Maddaford

Ivan Vicelich the only player in the national side from the ASB Premiership. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Ivan Vicelich the only player in the national side from the ASB Premiership. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Whether turning out for Auckland City in the ASB premiership, leading the same team at the Fifa Club World Cup or pulling on an All Whites shirt, no one would question Ivan Vicelich's commitment to the cause.

Six weeks past his 36th birthday, Vicelich shows no sign of slowing down. Just hours after playing a key role in the All Whites' 3-0 win over Tahiti in Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier in Christchurch, Vicelich was back at Auckland City's clubroom as part of their launch for the upcoming Club World Cup campaign.

Asked how difficult it is to switch from the various levels he finds himself playing at these days Vicelich, the only player in the national side from the non-professional ASB Premiership, shrugs it off with a simple "it's not that hard, I just give every game 110 per cent". No one would dare challenge him on that but given the lift required to play internationally alongside players from the English Premier League, other European competitions and the US as well as the Hyundai A-League, his efforts are truly amazing given that apart from a brief stint in China, he has not played professionally since leaving the Dutch League four years ago.

"It is a great honour to represent your country," said Vicelich who is now the most-capped All White.

"You are only as good as your last game and provided you can get a little bit of down time to refresh it is great to be involved with different teams especially when they are winning.

"The Club World Cup is a great opportunity to play on the world stage and it is exciting for the club to be going back again. It is going to be tough in Japan but we always knew that."

After his long involvement in senior football, he still enjoys training under the different coaching styles.

Auckland City must now submit a list to Fifa by the end of next week of those who will play at the Club World Cup in Japan.

While there are a couple of newcomers, notably Chris Bale and Jason Hicks, City coach Ramon Tribulietx has pretty much the same squad who went to Japan a year ago with some back for their fourth or even fifth campaign after playing in Japan in 2006 and Abu Dhabi in 2009.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 17 Apr 2014 20:01:21 Processing Time: 251ms