Brian Kaltak once again appointed in New Zealand’s premiership ‘Team of the Month’

As the ISPS Handa Premiership, the most important football league in New Zealand, is set to restart next weekend, the New Zealand Football issued the ‘Team of the Month’ of December. The best XI of the previous month has once again the Auckland City and Vanuatu national team central defender Brian Kaltak, despite the defender saw a red card in one of his last matches for the club.

Kaltak is only Pacific Islander to be in the team as the usual Tommy Semmy did not make the squad this time. Another outstanding players were part of the team, including the youngster Jesse Randall that is being in excellent form for Hawke’s Bay United. You can check the complete ‘Team of the Month’ here.

Auckland City’s Brian Kaltak in action – NZF Media

The former Erakor Golden Star man was enjoying a great moment until he was red-carded against Team Wellington, but he returned in the last match of the year against Wellington Phoenix Reserves and helped his side to come from behind to earn an important victory by 4-1.

Ravinesh Kumar appointed new Nadi head coach

New season and new head coach for the Jetsetters; Nadi FA recently informed that Kamal Swamy had stepped down of his position and they were quick to react the departure of Swamy. The replacement for the experienced head coach will the former Lautoka head coach Ravinesh Kumar.

The former Techinical Director of Fiji Football Association is currently the highest profile of coaching in Fiji as he holds A-License of coaching – the only person to hold it in the country.

Ravinesh Kumar – Fiji FA Media

Kumar is obviously a good pick for the Nadi team, but the coach is still to prove himself in the country as his past job in Lautoka did not meet the expectations of the fans and team directions – he resigned from the position last October.

Nadi did not have a bad season in 2020, reaching the final of FIji FACT last December and might expect Kumar can bring them even more sucess Kamal Swamy was able to.

Roy Krishna finds the way back to the nets as ATK Mohun Bagan wins in India

After two games without scoring, Roy Krishna found the way back to the nets against NorthEast United this Sunday to open the account for his side ATKMB at Indian Super League. The former Labasa man scored through a header in the second half of the match – watch the goal here -, his sixth in the season so far. The Fijian international is now three goals away the Spanish Ivan Angulo, who is currently at the top of golden boot rankings with nine.

ATKMB still scored another thanks to an error of NEUFC defender Benjamin Lambot that scored an own goal. With the win Krishna’s side continues at the top of the Indian Super League after nine matches played with 20 points. After the game the Fijian was interviewed and shared his thoughts about the game – see here.

Krishna celebrates his goal – ISL Media

Krishna is already marked in Indian Super League history as he entered in ‘All-time’ top goalscorers list of Indian Super League with just seasons playing for ATKMB. The striker also guided his team to a famous title of the league in the previous season before achieving sucess in Australian A-League while playing for Wellington Phoenix.

Kamal Swamy set to take Ba’s head coach spot

Recently the Fijian football scenario got to know Ba’s then head coach departed from the team; Ronil Kumar, in a statement relesed by Ba Football Association in social media, confirmed the 36-year-old was not anymore the head coach of the team.

As Kumar departed, one name seems to be very close to accept terms and take Ba’s head coach position: Kamal Swamy. The experienced coach that guided Nadi to the 2020 Fiji FACT final match is set to be the next head coach of the Men in Black.

Kamal Swamy

On 31, Dec Nadi FA stated that Swamy was no longer the Jetsetters head coach in social media, paving the way for the experieced coach to find a new a team to work. Swamy himself in an interview to local media stated he is ready to take the opportunity to coach the most prestigious football club of Fiji if the opportunity is given.

Swamy has plenty of experience in the local scenario coaching districts such as Lautoka and Suva in the past, also being part of the Fiji national team staff in some opportunities. Ba did not have a good season in 2020 and they seem to be looking to revitalise the team for the upcoming season bringing a new commander with proven capabilities.

Wellington Phoenix starts new A-League season with a defeat against Sydney FC

Finally, the new season of A-League started for the New Zealanders of Wellington Phoenix. The club that is being forced to play their home games in Wollongong, Australia due the COVID-19 scenario faced Sydney FC in their debut game – their first game of the season was to be in December but it was postponed.

A different Phoenix was fielded by the coach Ufuk Talay: the newcomers Joshua Laws, James McGarry, Clayton Lewis and Mirza Muratovic started the match. The Mexican star Ulises Davila was on the bench alongisde the new signing, the Israeli striker Tomer Hemed.

The A-League current champions Sydney FC had the biggest portion of ball possession in the starting minutes of the clash, but no much goalscoring chances were created. Phoenix was keen to use Jaushua Sotirio in the counter-attack – something that proved not efficient in the entire game.

The youngster Calem Nieuwenhof scored a long-range goal at the 29th minute of play to put Sydney FC upfront, but still in the first half the debutant Mirza Muratovic managed to finish a cross coming from the right to equalise the match.

Tomer Hemed could not help Phoenix to secure a point against Sydney FC

In the second half Phoenix once again was hit by a long-range finish; this time the midfielder Luke Brattan fired from far away the box a free-kick that went on the top-corner of Stefan Marinovic.

Just after conceding, Talay introduced his two stars from the bench – Hemed and Davila – in place of Lewis and Muratovic. Both players proved to combine well upfront alongside Sotirio and David Ball, Phoenix managed to pressure Sydney and create good chances. In the final minutes a Davila’s shot hit Hemed and went to the back of the net, but the former Israeli international was on offside position and the goal was ruled out.

The New Zealand’s side was not able to find an equaliser and started the 20/21 season of the A-League with a 2-1 defeat, but it is true there are positive signs shown specially in the second part of the game after the introduction of Hemed and Davila.

The Nix next challenge will be against the debutants in the league Macarthur, next Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium.

Ba: Ronil Kumar steps down of head coach position

Important news erupted in Fijian football scenario this Tuesday reporting Ronil Kumar is no longer Ba’s head coach. The most prestigious football club of Fiji had a disappointing 2020 season as the Men in Black did not win any major tournament either qualified for the 2021 OFC Champions League.

The still 36-year-old coach finished his player career in 2017 for the same Ba; a celebrated midfielder in his country, Kumar represented Fiji eleven times at international level. It is reported Kumar decided to take a break from football to focus on his new career path after joining the Fiji Police Force.

Ronil Kumar – Fiji FA Media

Kumar had several problems in 2020 to make a competitive squad as many important players departed Ba to other districts or overseas – also losing players due suspension. Despite all trouble, Kumar managed Ba to stay 3rd in the national league table, but not enough to qualify the famous side to the next edition of the OFC Champions League.

Now Ba is looking for a new coach to fill the gap left by Kumar as the new season is set to restart in around two months for the team and, as the last season results’ say, there are manya areas of the game the Men in Black need to improve.

AS Magenta/Hienghène domination came to an end in New Caledonia

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The atypical season in New Caledonia was finished last weekend at Stade Yoshida, Koné. Four teams were in the battle for the title and spots in the next OFC Champions League; after being forced to postpone the final matchweek due conflicts in the country, Tiga Sport, Horizon Patho and the powerful duo AS Magenta and Horizon Patho entered in the field of play to decide the outcome of the 2020 season.

David Bearune and Lues Waya were the heroes for Tiga Sport and collected a famous victory against AS Magenta to clinch the Mobil Super Ligue title for the first time ever. The Maré-based Horizon Patho also has a lot to celebrate as they surpassed the former national league champions Hienghène Sport by 3-2, the hero of the day was Jean-Claude Jéwiné that scored a hattrick for his side.

Tiga Sport is winner of 2020 Mobil Super Ligue – MSL Media

The two results broken the domination of AS Magenta and Hienghène Sport in the football scenario of New Caledonia: since Gaïtcha in 2013 no other football club rather than Hienghène or Magenta won the national league. The achivement of Horizon Patho is also tremendous as the club will take place in their first ever international tournament – Tiga Sport as well. To confirm the size of the domination, the last time AS Magenta did not finish first or second in the national league was in 2013 – the last time they did not take part of an OFC Champions League edition.

Oceania will get to know two new clubs for the 2021 edition of its most important club competition – and they are coming from New Caledonia, where the last champions also come from. What can Tiga and Horizon Patho bring?

Fiji: Champion vs. Champion series set to change venues due TC Yasa’s damage

The strong Tropical Cyclone that hit Fiji last week will probrably affect the start of the next football season in the country. The traditional Champion vs Champion series – that is played between the Vodafone Premier League champions against the Inter-District Championship winners – will be forced to change its venue.

The both legs of the series are normally played home and awaya; the current IDC’s champions Labasa may not in be in conditions to host Suva, the national league champions, at Subrail Park; Vanua Levu island, where Labasa town is located, was heavily hit by Yasa.

Labasa, the current IDC and CVC Champions – Fiji FA Media

Labasa that is the current champions of the Champion vs Champion series will need to defend their title in two-legged matches in Suva, as Fiji FA’s CEO Mohammed Yusuf recently stated. The entity is set to confirm its decision soon as the competition is schedulde to begin next month.

Labasa won Ba this year to clinch CVC’s glory; both Suva and Labasa recently met at Fiji FACT semi-final at Subrail Park when Suva grabbed a 3-1 victory before beating Nadi in the final to win the tournament.

Young Jesse Randall on top form for Hawke’s Bay United

The final matches of 2020 in New Zealand’s top league – ISPS Handa Premiership – marked the first points collected by the Napier-based side Hawke’s Bay United in the season. Despite losing all matches so far – after beating Waitakere United at home by 2-0 – one of their players is being highly praised throughout New Zealand: Jesse Randall.

The only 18-year-old attacker is proving to be the most important member of Hawke’s Bay United as he already scored four of the five goals of the team in the league so far. Randall – that is expected to leave soon to play college soccer in United States – is in his second season in the national league; his first experience was with Tasman United when he played 14 games and scored three goals.

Randall (left) is on fire at ISPS Handa Premiership – Stephanie Gunter

In the current season, the former U17 New Zealand international already scored against the well-known Team Wellington and Auckland City and notched a superb brace to confirm HBU‘s first win against Waitakere United last weekend; scoring a fantastic goal that earned him the ‘Goal of the Week’ award for New Zealand Football – watch here. Randall also featured in the ‘Team of the Month’ of the ISPS Handa Premiership for November due his incredible individual performances.

The young player is one of the hottest prospects of New Zealand football for the upcoming years and he is proving so in the current season – but it seems his teammates in Hawke’s Bay are not following his level as the team stands at the bottom of the table as the competition enters the Christmas/New Year’s Eve break.

In the other three matches of the weekend in New Zealand’s top-league, Team Wellington took the first place of the table thanks to a 3-1 win over Canterbury United – the strong striker Hamish Watson scored a brace for TeeDubs. Team Wellington is now at the top because of Hamilton Wanderers 2-1 defeat in front of Eastern Suburbs, while Auckland City recovered from their bad start in the season with a convicing 4-1 win over Wellington Phoenix Reserves. You can check the latest results, top-goalscorers and standings by visiting our ISPS Handa Premiership’s page.

Young forward Max Mata joins Real Monarchs from the United States

After spending the past two years in Europe, Max Mata is ready for a new adventure on his career. The 20-year-old forward from New Zealand is going to play for Real Monarchs from the United States in the upcoming year.

Real Monarchs is the feeder team to MLS club Real Salt Lake. They play the USL Championship – the second most important football league in the United States. According to Monarchs’ media, his signing is pending league and federation approval, as well as the approval of a Visa.

Max Mata is going to the United States

Max will be the first ever player from New Zealand to play for Real Monarchs, and he is going to have the opportunity to be followed closely by Real Salt Lake’s staff. He scored five goals in ten matches during his stint in Switzerland with Grasshopper U-21 squad.

Mata made his debut for New Zealand National Football Team last year in a friendly match against Lithuania. He was also a National Team’s regular starter at U-17 and U-20 levels. Oceania Football Center wish him good luck in this new challenge.