Friday , April 19 2024

AS Academy Feminine look to defend OFC Women’s Champions League!

AS Academy Féminine won the inaugural OFC Women’s Champions League title in some style in Port Moresby last year, winning all four of their matches in the five team tournament.

The New Caledonian champions return for the second edition of the competition which has expanded to eight teams, to be played in Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

Coach Coralie Bretegnier has a new look side with only around half the squad returning from last June.

“We have new players in key positions, for example, in central defence and at goalkeeper,” Bretegnier said.

One of the absentees is the impressive Edsy Matao, who was a rock at the heart of the team’s defence last year and won the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament.

The experienced coach says just because there are a number of new personnel however, it doesn’t mean they will be any less competitive.

“As I said last year, if the players are in the team, it’s because they’re all worth keeping an eye on,” she added.

The new format features eight teams split into two groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semi-finals, and Bretegnier admits the expanded tournament will make retaining the title that much harder.

“The OFC Women’s Champions League is going to be at a higher level, that’s for sure! And that’s something we see as a positive for the team and for Oceania women’s football. We love the challenge, even if we arrive knowing that it’s a bigger one.”

AS Academy Féminine are in Group B, alongside New Zealand’s Auckland United FC, Fiji’s Labasa Women FC and Veitongo FC of Tonga.

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