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OFC (Oceania Football Confederation)

The troubled New Zealand Knights franchise has had it’s a-League participation license revoked by Football Federation Australia, with New Zealand Soccer invited to take up a caretaker role as the club lurches from crisis to crisis. New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has been installed as the club’s coach for the final five games of the season alongside New Zealand U-17 coach Colin Tuaa. Under Herbert, the team has won twice and lost once. Former chairman Anthony Lee has stood down from his position and New Zealand Soccer CEO Graham Seatter is currently seeking expressions of interest from potential backers, with the FFA setting a deadline of 31 January 2007. FFA spokesman Matt Carroll said a successful professional A-League franchise was still possible in New Zealand.

2006 ended on an eventful note for the OFC with Auckland City’s appearance at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2006. The New Zealand champions suffered a tumultuous build-up to the event when the Sandringham-based club released coach Rofer Wilkinson just weeks prior to the tournament. The amateur side recalled former coach Allan Jones and his assistant Craig Alexander, but still finished in sixth place following defeats against Al-Ahly (2 – 0) and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC (3 – 0). Auckland City performed as well as could have been expected and ended their year on a high by defeating New Zealand Football Championship pace-setters and arch-rivals Waitakere United 4 – 3 after trailing 3 – 0 at the break.

Pacific Magazine has named OFC president Reynald Temarii as one of the most influential leaders in the South Pacific. The magazine ranked Temarii alongside such leaders as New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in an article called “The 293 Pacific Leaders You Need to Know”.

The Solomon Islands Football Federation has named Airton Andrioli as its new national team coach. Andrioli’s first task was to take the Solomon Islands U-20 to New Zealand in January for the OFC U-20 Championship in Auckland.