Western Leader : November 30th 2010
30 WESTERN LEADER, NOVEMBER 30, 2010 SPORT Chilean player embraces Kiwi life City kid: Francisco Avendano has gone from an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile to playing for Auckland City FC. Photo: TUREI MACKEY It has been quite a year for Chilean footballer Francisco Avendano. The 24-year-old is now playing for Auckland City FC in the national premiership after spending the winter season with New Lynn club Lynn-Avon United. Avendano scored 13 goals for Lynn-Avon to secure him- self a place in the Auckland City squad for the summer. I felt really excited about the opportunity because Auckland City is one of the big clubs in the country,'' he says. While his year might be ending well Avendano didn't have the best of starts to 2010. The Western Leader reported in March about the unknown whereabouts of the player after his hometown of Concepcion was hit by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 28. He was set to play for Lynn-Avon with fellow Concepcion residents Jorge Rodriguez and Miguel Inos- troza. Neither Rodriguez nor Inostroza knew what had happened to their team-mate at the time. I quickly changed my flight plans to a later date after the quake,'' Avendano says. I wanted to make sure my family was okay and I was worried about my wife Cath- erine who was nervous after- wards.'' Avendano and his wife had to move quickly after being woken from their sleep in the early hours of the morning. I live very close to the beach so we had to get out of the house and run to the hills because of possible tsu- namis.'' A 2.34-metre tsunami struck the area where Aven- dano lives. His time in New Zealand has been less hectic and he's living in Massey. I am blown away by how safe it is when compared with South American cities. It is a really peaceful place to live and there is no trouble.'' But Avendano was slightly concerned after Canterbury was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in September. I thought I had brought the earthquake with me from Concepcion,'' he says. When I saw it I really felt for the people there because I had been through the same thing months earlier.'' His main goal in the next 12 months is to recover from an ankle injury and improve his English. I am not going to any classes but reading articles on the internet and watching movies. And also listening to hip hop.'' Auckland city get a boost to their ranks Back home: Ivan Vicelich has returned to Auckland City FC. Photo: SHANE WENZLICK By TUREI MACKEY The country's most capped All White is returning to help Auckland City FC in their quest for the national premiership and O-League titles next year. Henderson-born Ivan Vic- elich trained with the club last week for the first time since returning from his stint in China's Super League. Vicelich will have to stand down for 30 days under FIFA rules but should return to playing in early December. The 33-year-old defender did get a run in an exhibition game against the All Refs, a team made up of refugees. It was a great opportunity to play against the All Refu- gee team and it probably meant a lot to them as well,'' he says. It is important to give back and good for the boys in Auckland City to see that part of life.'' The 71-cap veteran says his four-month contract with Shenzhen Ruby FC in China was a great experience. It is a massive place. We were based in Shenzhen which has more than 14 million people. The culture was very dif- ferent to what I'm used to down here and my playing days in Europe. But my family joined me forawhilesoitwasagood experience all round.'' Vicelich's main focus now is to help Auckland City catch league leaders Waitakere United. It is a new squad with 10 changes from last season and a lot of those who left were experienced players,'' he says. There is a good mix in the team and while it will take a while to rebuild we have some positives from the past couple of weeks.'' Co-coach Ramon Tribulietx says the club is more then happy to welcome back Ivan into the fold. Of course we have a bit of a sore squad right now and Ivan knows the club pretty well,'' he says. Hopefully he will give us a bit of a boost.'' Vicelich says he has no plans to look for another short term gig overseas. Igetalotofcallsandalot of options but it has to be right.'' And I'm at a time in life where I don't have to worry about what is coming up so I'm enjoying my football and time at Auckland City.'' Students on ball in surprise visit Young fans: Kelston Primary School students, from left: Eneio Halatanu, Adrianna Matthews, Kini Lotulelei and Mandela Baledrokadroka in front of a large Rugby World Cup inflatable figure. Cup launch: Rugby mascot Rugger, Mayor Len Brown and Olympic champion John Walker have a chat with the students. By TUREI MACKEY Students at Kelston Pri- mary School got a morning away from their exercise books last week to take part in the launch of the new 2011 Rugby World Cup edu- cation programme. The programme is focused on next year's big event and includes lessons in English, mathematics, social science, health and physical edu- cation linked to the world cup. Schools will also receive workbooks, videos and free sports gear as part of the programme. Deputy principal Chris Herlihy says the children had a fun time playing mini games with some of Auck- land rugby's emerging players. We were only told about this event the day before,'' he says. So there was a quick reshuffle of plans to make sure all the kids could attend. They had an absolute ball and got a chance to play rippa rugby.'' Auckland mayor Len Brown was at the opening and wants all the students to embrace the programme. The world cup is about much more than what happens on the field. It is a fantastic opportunity for all school children to partici- pate in and learn from this global event,'' he says.
December 2nd 2010