BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE group stage competition of the Oceania Champions League (OCL) returns to Lawson Tama stadium next season.
Solomon Islands was confirmed as one of hosts for one of the group stages in the 2019 OFC Champions League competition along with Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Last season, Group D was hosted in Honiara where it involves national representative Marist welcoming Team Wellington (New Zealand), AS Magenta (New Caledonia) and Samoan outfit Lupe Ole Soaga to Lawson Tama during February and March this year.
The OFC Champions League is the region’s premier club football competition and
Seven associations namely Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu are awarded two berths each in the group stage while American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga are awarded one berth each in the qualifying stage, with the winners and runners-up advancing to the group stage.
The 2019 season will begin with the qualifying stage which will be contested by club champions from Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands.
The winner will advance to join the competition proper which will take place next January.
The competition proper will begin on February 2019 and will conclude with the finals on May 2019.
Team Wellington of New Zealand are the defending champions.
During last season’s OCL, Solomon Islands was represented by TSL champions Solomon Warriors and Marist.