BY ROMULUS HUTA
BRAZILIAN Juliano Schmeling has congratulated his former club Marist for making the quarterfinals of the 2018 Oceania Champions League.
Marist qualified for the quarterfinals after winning its final Group D match defeating Lupe Ole Soaga 3-1 at Lawson Tama to join pool leader Team Wellington in the last eight.
With three past appearances in the Oceania premier club competition, this is the first time for Marist to surpass the group phase competition.
Schmeling was Marist head coach since 2015 until his exit from the club late last year.
Currently residing in New Zealand, Schmeling said he is proud of Marist’s achievement.
“The only thing I can say is I’m very proud of everyone from the club.”
Schmeling said the qualification to the quarterfinal is simply achieving a goal they started in 2015 when he first joined the club.
“I’m so happy to see them achieve our goal that we started three years ago. I knew they could do it; I always had faith in them. We worked hard together since 2015 and they deserve to qualify.”
The former Kurukuru coach said he is also proud of young striker Mathias Iani.
“Mathias Iani came to our Marist trial in 2015 and I saw his potential as a striker since that day. In 2015/16 season he played his first season at Lawson Tama and he scored few goals for us that time, he is a potential player and he is improving year by year.”
Schmeling believes that Marist can reach the final but must work harder to strengthen few areas that need attention.
“I think Marist needs to focus in some areas that need to be improved and find the best strategy to go forward in the Oceania Champions League independent of opposition.
“I know the draw will be chosen next week so I hope Marist can make a nice plan and go to the semifinal and make history again.”
Schmeling urges Marist fans to continue their good support for the club.
“I want the fans to continue the good support they always render to the club.
“A big thank you as well to all the Marist fans. They made me feel very well in Honiara when I was there. They supported Marist and believed in Marist all the way. Marist fans gave Marist the strength behind them to achieve at this level. I will never forget the Kurukuru fans support in Marist as well. Thanks so much to the Marist support and fans.”