Allen says having a winning mentality will be key to their campaign
BY ROMULUS HUTA
MARIST coach Jerry Allen says the quarterfinal draws of the Oceania Champions League may have turned out to their favour but admits the road ahead is not easy as it seems.
Allen was sharing his thoughts with SunSPORTS yesterday on the outcome of the draws made on Monday by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).
With the one-off showdown expected to be an all Melanesian affairs, Marist will take on Vanuatu champions Nalkutan in the second quarterfinal at Korman Stadium 4pm local time in Port Vila on April 7.
Looking at how the draws rolled out, a victory by the Solomon Islands representative may see them take on the winner of the match between Lautoka and AS Dragon in the semifinal on April 21.
The pathway outlined in the draw shows that Marist will avoid favourites Auckland City and Team Wellington in the knock out stages.
But Allen stated that this is not going to be easy despite avoiding Auckland City and Team Wellington in the last eight and the semifinal stages.
“The road looks alright. But looking at the composition of teams in our pathway, they are all good teams. AS Dragons is Tahiti’s champion and so as Lautoka and Nalkutan who are the respective champions of Fiji and Vanuatu.
“The avoiding of Team Wellington and Auckland City might open up things in the pathway to the final but it’s not an easy road as it may seem,” the former O-league winning coach with Hekari United of PNG in 2010 said.
Allen expressed that their aim is to reach the final and create another piece of new history.
“Like in the previous games in the pool competition, they were all tough matches.
“The Oceania Champions League only has one chance for participating teams.
“If we want to win matches then we must believe in ourselves. The final is just a few games away and already within our reach. If we perform well, score goals and win the next matches then we can possibly reach the final.
“The focus now is to remind the players to continue to step up and maintain the good attitude of winning they have been displaying so far,” Allen added.
The quarterfinal is a month away from kick off and this Saturday will see them heading into their first game of the Telekom S-League championship series to take on Guadalcanal FC 4pm at Lawson Tama.
Allen said the participation in the TSL championship is a key factor to their preparation ahead of the Oceania champions League quarterfinal.
“Since we will have no friendlies in the lead-up to the big match-up next month, the TSL championship series participation must be put to good use.
“Our need players need more game time. The more matches they play, the better.”