The S-League is in full swing and the runner-up of this year’s competition will have a consolation prize with Honiara set to host Group D of the OFC Champions League 2018.
The hosts of the group stages of Oceania’s premier international club competition were announced today following this month’s OFC Executive Committee meeting and SIFF were successful in their bid to host one of the four groups.
The S-League runner-up will be joined in Group D by three-time finalists Team Wellington of New Zealand, New Caledonia club champions AS Magenta and the runner-up in the OFC Champions League Qualifying Tournament.
Group D will be held from 24 February to 4 March.
Group A will be held in Vanuatu with debutants Nalkutan FC joining with the Vanuatu Football Federation to host Lae City Dwellers, Ba FC and the Qualifying Stage winners in Port Vila from 10-18 February.
At the same time, Federation Tahitienne de Football and AS Dragon will be welcoming the Solomon Islands champions, AS Lossi and Erakor Golden Star to Papeete where the stage will be set for Group B action.
From the 24 February to 4 March, eight-time regional champions Auckland City will host their group for the second year in a row. Lautoka FC, Madang FC and AS Venus will travel to New Zealand in the hopes of unseating the competition’s most successful club.
OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp said the continuation of this format offers OFC Member Associations, and the clubs themselves, something to capitalise on.
“Local communities are being offered the chance to watch the teams they’ve followed all season compete on the highest stage the region has to offer,” he explained.
“It also provides an opportunity for these teams to reward their fans.”
Kemp said it allows the OFC Competitions Department to work with clubs and Member Associations more closely.
“This format allows us to join with the participating clubs and associations to successfully welcome and host the group stages of this competition.
“For our department it is always beneficial to work with our colleagues across the region both to share our experiences and learn more about the facilities and football culture in each of these nations.
“We are very excited to work with Tahiti and Auckland City on this event for a second year, and look forward to delivering the group matches in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu for the first time.”
The OFC Champions League 2018 begins in Pago Pago, American Samoa in January with the four club champions from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga competing for the two remaining places in the final 16.