10 Dec 2013

Sport: Oceania champs ready for Club World Cup opener

11:59 am on 10 December 2013

Auckland City football coach Ramon Tribulietx expects to lose some of his players to professional football clubs following their FIFA Club World Cup opener against Raja Casablanca in Morocco on Wednesday night.

The Oceania club champions lost Manel Exposito to Belgian football last season and Andreu Guerao to Dinamo Tiblisi in Georgia, while Albert Riera was signed by the Wellington Phoenix following a friendly match between the two clubs in October.

Auckland City FC will face Morrocan club Casablanca for a spot in the tournament main draw, with the victors to advance to a quarter-final showdown with Monterrey of Mexico.

The local side have had a horror build-up following the shock departure of their double-winning coach, a cup final defeat, a doping test failure for one of their top stars and a form slump that sees them sit sixth in the Moroccan league.

Midfielder Darren White says they've managed to have a look at their opposition.

"We got a few links sent through to us a couple of weeks ago. [We've] had a look at them, they look pretty good, they look like a decent outfit. They'll be tough to beat."

Auckland City finished fourth at last year's Club World Cup tournament and this will be their fifth appearance at the event.