Auckland City Take on the World

Following a storied 2022 season which included a rare 'fourpeat' of trophies, Auckland FC head to Morocco to represent Oceania in the Fifa World Club champs.

The numbers are staggering, the odds ridiculous. Auckland City FC, repping our beleaguered city (and Ockham too), have travelled to Morocco for the 2023 edition of the FIFA World Cup.

In their first match on Wednesday 1 February, they play Al Ahly SC of Cairo. This is the club also known as Nadi El Watanniyah (Club of Patriotism), Nadi El Mared El Ahmar (The Red Giant) and Nadi El Qarn (The Club of Century)… this is the club who have won 42 Egyptian titles and been African Champions 10 times… this is the club who have a Facebook following of 14 million and were named African Club of the 20th Century.

Get past Al Ahly and the Seattle Sounders, champions of North America, peppered with national representatives of Uruguay, Colombia, Cameroon and the US, await. And then, if they get there, the might of Real Madrid, the most successful club in football history.

It is a formidable challenge, but the Navy Blues, very (very, very) proudly sponsored by Ockham, are up for it. Not only did they win an unprecedented four titles in 2022 including the Oceania Champions League, their form in the lead-up to the tournament has been impressive, a 1-1 draw with FC Barcelona Reserves another hard-won result to be filed away.

And if they're thirsting for inspiration, then they need look no further than their performances the last time they came to Morocco. In the 2014 FIFA World Club Cup, Auckland City FC finished third, their bronze medal the greatest achievement by far by a New Zealand team in the world's global sport.

Assistant Manager Ivan Vicelich finished third in the Golden Ball award, given to the best player at the tournament. The two players who finished ahead of him?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.