Soccer: Vicelich eyes tough derby

Ivan Vicelich believes this Sunday's ASB Charity Cup final showdown with Waitakere United presents some eye-catching match ups. Photo / Getty Images.
Ivan Vicelich believes this Sunday's ASB Charity Cup final showdown with Waitakere United presents some eye-catching match ups. Photo / Getty Images.

The ASB Charity Cup between Waitakere United and Auckland City opens the curtain on a new summer of football and one man familiar with Super City derby action is Ivan Vicelich.

Vicelich, who became New Zealand's most capped All White during the FIFA World Cup qualifiers with Tahiti, believes this Sunday's ASB Charity Cup final showdown with Waitakere United presents some eye-catching match ups.

Former Auckland team-mates, Chad Coombes and David Mulligan, have crossed the divide, with Chris Bale heading in the opposite direction.

Vicelich said: "That's football - things chop and change all the time. Its probably the first time in a while that players have made the switch between the two Super City clubs. We'll have to stay friends off the field but enemies on it!"

Another milestone in the eight year history of the Super City derby is the appointment of former navy blues title winning coach Paul Marshall to the Waitakere United hot seat.

Marshall guided Auckland City to the ASB Premiership title in 2007 after a tumultuous season that saw two coaches come and go in the space of a calendar month.

"Marshy" becomes the first coach to take charge of both sides of the Super City rivalry.

Despite the intrigue about player and coach movements, Vicelich said the derby atmosphere makes for compelling viewing for supporters and neutrals alike.

"A game with Waitakere United is always very special and its great for people to come down and watch.

The players are going to be pumped up and you can sense that buzz of anticipation build up during the week.

We've had a pretty good pre-season but this is a game we want to win. We'll fight for everything out there," Vicelich said.

With the ASB Charity Cup firmly set in his sights, Vicelich said the campaign for the club's record fifth ASB Premiership title is tighter than ever.

Waitakere eye their own bit of history, chasing an unprecedented fourth consecutive championship.

But there are pretenders to the throne dominated by the big two.

"Last year was a very tough league. Right to the end Canterbury United and Team Wellington were edging towards a top two finish.

"We had a stumbling block at the end through the playoff system in the league," he said.

It was a frustrating end to an almost perfect season for Vicelich's club, becoming the first team in ASB Premiership history to finish the regular campaign unbeaten.

"We had an unbelievable season. We were unbeaten in the regular season, it was an incredible run," he reflected, "Hopefully we can produce some good results like we did last year. But it will be difficult to match our own record, a record that you can't really beat."

Auckland City face Waitakere United at Fred Taylor Park on Sunday in the ASB Charity Cup final, kick-off at 2pm, with the ASB Women's League clash between Northern and Waikato Bay of Plenty immediately following the match at 4pm.

-nzherald.co.nz

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