Milicic Praises Vibrancy Of Pacific Football

Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic has praised the vibrancy of Pacific football after attending the second leg of the O-League final in Waitakere, New Zealand on Sunday.

Melbourne Heart FC Assistant Coach Ante Milicic has praised the vibrancy of Pacific football after attending the second leg of the O-League final in Waitakere, New Zealand on Sunday.

Papua New Guinea representatives Hekari United claimed the continental crown, and resulting berth in December-s FIFA Club World Cup following a 4-2 aggregate win over Kiwi side Waitakere United in front of 3,000 fans at Fred Taylor Park.

With Heart keen to expand its recruitment campaign to the Pacific, Milicic made the trip across the Tasman to watch Oceania-s finest footballers take to the field in the crucial clash, casting his eye across the talent on display.

Milicic revealed he was impressed by Oceania-s showpiece game, saying the quality of play has shown marked signs of improvement.

“Australia-s leaving Oceania has opened up opportunities for smaller nations in the OFC to gain exposure to higher levels of football, and the results are already beginning to show,” he said.

“I-m confident that with time, football in Oceania will continue to improve. Hekari taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup will certainly boost the profile of the game among Pacific nations and will hopefully inspire youngsters to take up the game.”

Although players from the Pacific islands are currently not represented in the Hyundai A-League, the former Qantas Socceroo believes the O-League could prove to be a vital source of talent in the coming years.

“As the competitions and coaching standards continue to improve, I feel it is inevitable that we will see a number of players from the Pacific region move into the Hyundai A-League,” he said.

“I played alongside Manis Lamond so I know first-hand the great impact he made in the NSL, and I am certain there will be players in the future who can be just as effective at A-League level.

“With some luck, We might even be able to unearth the next Christian Karembeu!”

With the countdown to the club-s competition debut well underway, Melbourne Heart FC invites you to register for priority access and become a member at the Hyundai A-League-s newest football club.

Click here for a registration form.