Auckland City FC's first choice goalkeeper, Tamati Williams says a FIFA Club World Cup breakthrough is getting closer all the time.
The Oceania champions landed in Casablanca today after earning 0-0 draw with Uzbekistan in Dubai yesterday.
30-year-old Williams has enjoyed a roller coaster career that has had it all - a stint in modelling, extended tertiary education, All Whites caps and two stellar performances at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Its the latter that resonates most with the Dunedin-born Auckland goalkeeper who played outstandingly in narrow losses to Hiroshima (0-1) and Casablanca (1-2).
"I've got quite vivid memories of the Sanfrecce Hiroshima game but the Raja Casablanca one kind of went in a flash.
"I remember the whistle going at the start of the first and second half against Raja and just thinking, 'Where did that go? - was I completely present?' It was like an out-of-body experience with the atmosphere in the stadium. It was incredible," he says.
Williams produced two eye-catching performances in both matches with Sanfreece Hiroshima in 2012 and last year against Raja Casablanca.
Both displays included breath-taking saves from Williams that preceded goals, definitive goals as it turned out, that culminated in heartbreaking single goal defeats.
Despite the accolades, Williams admits playing well but losing was difficult to reconcile.
"They're tough moments. I like to think I did everything I could preceding and during the actual goals we conceded. But you always ask yourself what you could've done to help your team out a little more.
"But I feel like, over the last two campaigns, that we're getting closer to the result we want. Hopefully, third time is the charm - we'll see how we go."
"The FIFA Club World Cup is the highlight our of season. I imagine when I look back on my career it will be the highlight, I'm really excited about facing Moghreb Tetouan, our whole team is," he says.
Williams has formed a strong partnership with the club's two other goalkeepers, fellow All White Jacob Spoonley and young up-and-comer Louie Caunter.
"It's a good relationship between our goalkeepers. It's definitely a different kind of vibe amongst the goalkeepers than there was last year.
"I know that Jacob will keep me honest. He's always knocking on the door and pushed me hard in pre-season. We each have things we do better than each other which we keep an eye on.
"We all get on great - I've known Louie Caunter since he was 15 and Jacob for the last three or four years," he says.
Auckland face Moghreb Tetouan on December 10 in Rabat, Morocco, in the FIFA Club World Cup playoff.
The winner qualifies for a quarter final showdown with Algeria's ES Sétif on Saturday 13 December.
San Lorenzo of Argentina awaits the victor in the semi-finals four days later.