Canterbury United v WaiBOP United – ASB Football Park, Christchurch. Kick-off: 2pm
We begin our second ASB Premiership campaign with a tough trip to Christchurch to play perennial play-off contenders, Canterbury United, but head coach, Pete Smith, and his squad are looking forward to the challenge.
“Canterbury is an incredibly tough place to go because you have the travel factor as well as the fact they always seem to have a very good side,” chuckled Smith after training on Thursday evening. “It looks like it won’t be any different this Saturday. As a group, however, we have to grasp that challenge, embrace our underdog tag, and do our best to win all our individual battles on and off the field. When playing good sides you have to focus on what you can control. If we keep our standards high then we’ll get the performance we need and hopefully a positive result will follow.”
Looking back to the same fixture last season, WaiBOP United was undone by a fantastic strike from Uruguayan marksman, Federico Marquez, a player who will be suiting up for WaiBOP this summer. “That was the longest day,” recalls Smith with a wry grin. “We were in the air in the middle of the night, the kit got lost, players were sick, we missed a couple of great opportunities… Despite all that we put in a competitive performance. Then Freddy popped up and lashed home a screamer. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. Hopefully he can do that for us this weekend!”
Ahead of the game, Smith also announced four more signings. Robbie Greenhalgh (Cambridge), Daniel Finlay (Melville United), Marcelo Sosa (Ngaruawahia United), and Shota Nakagawa (Waitakere City) have all signed on for the season ahead.
“Robbie has plenty of experience at this level and he’ll bring some extra quality, and a not inconsiderable amount of leadership, to the group as well,” said Smith. “Dan was a livewire for Melville during the winter and was an important component of their promotion winning side. He’ll give us plenty of width and pace.”
“Marcelo is doing a great job as our fitness trainer and has looked really good during pre-season, so we decided to add him to the playing squad. He has lots of experience locally and will do a job when called upon,” said Smith. “Shota is a really interesting proposition. He has the potential to be a key contributor for us in midfield so hopefully he can realise that over the course of the season.”
For more information please contact:
Peter Smith, WaiBOP United Head Coach