Daniel Koprivcic will play himself into the record books when he lines up for the first game at next month's Fifa Club World Cup.

But he is more concerned about the result than any milestone.

Koprivcic - "Danko" to those in and outside the game - will become the first player from any country to play at four club world cups.

He played twice for Waitakere United in Japan, and was in the Auckland City team who produced a stunning result in Abu Dhabi two years ago when, under Paul Posa, they beat UAE champions Al-Ahli 2-0 and then African champions TP Mazembe 3-2 to grab an unlikely fifth-place finish.


Now, a day after being named in the 22-man City squad who leave for Japan on Monday, Kopricvic has his sights set on winning a place in the team to play the yet-to-be-found J-League champions in the tournament opener on December 8.

"But," said Kopricvic, 30, this week, "we can't afford to get ahead of ourselves.

"While it will be great to go back to the Club World Cup, we have to concentrate on Sunday's game against Manawatu first. I'm sure there will be a little bit of thinking ahead and not wanting to get injured. That will be a challenge.

"We don't want to give back the three-point advantage we have at the top of the table by losing."

Koprivcic, born in Croatia but an Auckland resident since arriving as a 14-year-old - he became a New Zealand citizen three years later - played his early football at Kelston Boys High after switching from Mt Roskill Grammar.

He played at Croatian-based Central United for seven or eight years before a couple of seasons with winter league outfit Mangere United.

Approached by Auckland City and Waitakere United before the start of the 2006-07 New Zealand Football Championship, Koprivcic opted for United and the chance to link with Steve Cain under whom he had played at Kelston.

"Allan Jones was at Auckland City at the time and had Keryn Jordan, Grant Young and Paul Urlovic as his strikeforce.

"I could see I would have a better chance of more game time at Waitakere and went there.

"I went to Japan twice with them and really enjoyed the experience."

Although he is in the top dozen on the goalscoring list in the NZFC/ASB Premiership, Koprivcic has never received an international call-up. Like many others, he is bemused by that.

"I was always available. At one stage I was in the extended under-23 squad for the Olympics, but it never went any further," said Koprivcic, who juggled football and studies as he went through Auckland University, graduating with a Master of Science degree, majoring in statistics.

"I played under Ricki Herbert at one stage but we have never spoken about the All Whites."

After playing initially as a lone striker, Koprivcic under head coach Ramon Tribulietx has dropped back to play an attacking midfield role.

"I'm enjoying the change. As you get older you lose some of the pace, and it is not easy playing as a target in a 4-3-3 formation.

"Ramon is more about a possession-style of football and I enjoy that. I get more touches on the ball which is more enjoyable than running with it."

Because of his European background, he has fewer problems than some of his teammates in conversing with the four Spaniards in the City squad and relishes the chance to play alongside them, especially as the squad build for next week's journey and his place in Fifa's record books.

"For the past three weeks we have been training like professionals," said Koprivcic, who was last year's O-League player of the year.

"I would love to score over there but I'm not putting any pressure on myself.

"It is more important that we get a result in that first game."

In other ASB Premiership games on Sunday, Waitakere United make the short trip to play Waikato FC as they look to bounce back from the loss to City. Otago host Hawkes Bay in the early game, and in what may be the match of the round, Canterbury United are at home to Team Wellington.

Auckland City v YoungHeart Manawatu

Kiwitea St

Sunday 2pm

Referee: Isaac Trevis

Waikato FC v Waitakere United

Porritt Stadium

Sunday 2pm

Referee: Mirko Benischke

Canterbury United v Team Wellington

ASB Football Park

Sunday 2pm

Referee: Campbell Kirk Waugh

Otago United v Hawkes Bay United

Tahuna Park

Sunday noon

Referee: Matt Conger