Marist to release final 18 this week

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Solomon Warriors Judd Molea goes in for the challenge as Marist’s Atkin Kaua attempts a shot during Sunday’s friendly at Lawson Tama.
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BY ROMULUS HUTA

MARIST will release its final 18-man team this week for the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League group stage competition this month.

Marist FC coach Jerry Allan confirmed to SunSPORTS yesterday the list had already been finalised and will be published soon.

“Currently we have 23 players in training at the moment.

“The final 18 has already been named and would be soon made known to the media anytime in the coming days.

“We are yet to sort out few issues regarding the list and that’s the reason why it’s being held up,” the O-league winning coach with Hekari United FC of PNG said.

Marist was drawn in Pool D of the OFC Champions League group stage competition alongside Team Wellington (New Zealand), AS Magenta (New Caledonia) and Lupe Ole Soaga (Samoa).

Group D matches will be staged at the Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara from February 24 to March 2.

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Marist will get their campaign underway against Team Wellington for their first match in the 4pm fixture on February 24 and followed by AS Magenta on February 27.

Their final match is against Samoan champions and Michael Fifii-captained Lupe Ole Soaga on March 2.

As part of their preparation for the regional club meeting, they played two friendly matches against Solomon Warriors and lost 2-1 and 2-0 respectively.

The friendlies were played on Thursday and Sunday at Lawson Tama Stadium.

Speaking to SunSPORTS in the post-match interview of the final match, Allan said: “Of course it’s important for us to play friendly games. We need to have game time, we need to play tough opponents to get back to our speed and rhythm and the organization especially on defense and attack we were known for.

“We are only weeks away and without any friendlies or game time, we will find it difficult in the OFC Champions league.

“Our first friendly games on Thursday really helped us identify weak areas that need more attention before the OFC Champions league.

“This is a new stage of preparation. Performance at this stage of our preparation is critical because a performance of excellence is what I want to see from my players,” he adds.

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