By Shane Saroya – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
Vanuatu club champions, Amicale FC, are on a quest for their maiden Oceania Champions League football crown.
Club owner and President, Andrew Leong, has recruited a handful of overseas players including six Italians, an Argentinian, a Brazilian, a Scot and two New Zealanders, joining the club’s Solomon Islands imports and local Vanuatu contingent.
Leong said foreign recruits raised standards across the board.
Adding to his coaching box off the field is Italian, Mauro Bertoni.
Leong said he learned from past experience that a lack of coaching, professionalism and lack of educating players from an early age to the senior level has affected the quality of local players in Vanuatu.
Leong’s approach to import overseas players with high calibre and big experience sets a benchmark for Amicale, especially to compete in the Oceania league against a top-level team like Auckland City and other clubs in the region.
Amicale are in the same pool as defending champions Auckland City, Solomon Warriors and Papua New Guinea’s Lae City Dwellers, who they face on Sunday.