CHATHAM CUP ROUND-UP
My job at Team Wellington wasn’t done yet: we were still in one final competition. Admittedly, this one seems to have dragged out quite a lot, which I've found to be quite annoying to be honest. On the plus side, it also allowed to give the lads a fortnight off, where they were free to do as they pleased with their friends and family. We gave them a few guidelines to follow so that there wouldn’t be any issues upon their return from their breaks, and off they went.
I was able to conduct a piece of transfer business in the time off, with Vanuatu international central-defender Brian Kaltak joining the club. He’d been clubless since leaving Auckland City, and with him being one of the best Oceanic talents: I wanted him at Team Wellington. He's signed a 2-year deal here worth €1,500/month, and we’re delighted to have him.
Despite not being convinced that I have a long-term future at the club, I asked the board if I could apply to undertake my ‘Continental C Licence’ course, which they’ve allowed. Some might see it as taking advantage of their good nature, but considering what I've been able to help the club achieve: I think it’s only fair.
As you can see, the fixtures have been spaced out far too much, which has seen this competition drag on for two or three months longer than it should’ve. With that being said, we’ll just continue to deal with it the best that we can, and I'm reasonably pleased with the way that we've played. Could we have played better? Undoubtedly. At the end of the day, all that matters is the end result, and thankfully: we've made our way to the final.
The final is an all-Wellington affair, which is great to see, with us to play Wellington Olympic at Westpac Stadium on August 23, 2023. They beat Auckland City in their semi-final, which was a major shock, though when you consider that most of the lads in the Wellington Olympic side are former Team Wellington players: it’s less of a surprise in a way. It’ll be an interesting game, and it could very well be my final game in charge of the club.
Below are our most recent results in the competition:
CHATHAM CUP FINAL
The Chatham Cup final at Westpac Stadium was going to be quite special to be honest, with 5,378 tickets sold for it. I haven’t told anyone of my intentions just yet, but this could possibly be my last game in charge of the club, so I was quite desperate to secure a win, and go out on a high.
I think if you ask anyone who attended the game, they’ll tell you one thing: it was an attacking clinic. Neither side paid much attention to the other defensively, which was a bit concerning to see at times, whilst we had a stupid amount of efforts on goal. We opened the scoring via Nigel Hasselbaink with 23-minutes played, and from there: I expected us to push on and kill off any hopes of a comeback that Wellington Olympic might’ve had. Unfortunately: it didn’t work. We took a narrow lead into the break, and I had to find the right words to say.
It was blatantly obvious that we needed to be more clinical in the attacking-third, so I spent the majority of half-time talking to the likes of Nigel, Michael O, and Michael U about what I wanted from them. Che talked with the other lads, and tried to spark some life into them.
What I saw in the second-half was an absolute rollercoaster. Michael Olaha [54’] doubled our lead, and Michael Uchebo [58’] seemed to have put us out of sight by giving us a 3-0 lead: there was pandemonium in the stands! Then, just like that: the ecstasy was gone, replaced by despair. Full credit to Wellington Olympic: they took their chances. It was back to the drawing board, and despite our best efforts, extra-time loomed.
I was annoyed with the lads at full-time, and I let them know that, with their response in extra-time being to hit the back of the net 3 times to shut me up. We were the fitter side, so it was to be expected that we’d overrun them, but I was left wondering why we couldn’t have done this during ‘normal time’. Wellington Olympic got a consolation goal for themselves, but it was yet another trophy that we were adding to our cabinet.
When the final whistle went, I felt a sense of satisfaction, though there was still a tinge of annoyance in my emotions too. Regardless: it’s another good moment!
@Tango: Oceania is done, there's nothing left to try and win. It's now time for Drago to try and find a new job, but the key thing is: where? I very much doubt he has the reputation required to get a job in the A-League, so it might be a case of '1 step back, to take 2 forwards' so to speak.