Waiheke United AFC has secured their sixth consecutive promotion with their Northern Regional Football League (NRFL) Division 2 side, the Fullers Boom taking a convincing 7-1 victory over Te Atatu AFC over the weekend.
The win over Te Atatu gave the Waiheke side enough points to secure second place in the competition, putting them 13 points ahead of Takapuna AFC in third.
Waiheke trail table leaders Fencibles United by four points, and with three games still left and a maximum of nine-points up for grabs, an overall win is still possible.
Team Captain Alan Llunes said he was very pleased with the performance of his team, and now with promotion secured, his focus shifts to winning the title.
“The objective from the beginning of the year was to get promotion into Division One for next season and we have achieved that. I’m very proud the way we played against Te Atatu,” said Llunes.
“With three games still to play, our objective now is to win the title. We need to win these next three games and not worry about what Fencibles is doing, and to concentrate on ourselves.”
The Waiheke United Club has been celebrating their 30th anniversary this season; the promotion of their top team is now the sixth consecutive promotion for the side with the team unbeaten this season.
The side has also not lost a home game in three years.
Coach Nick Saunders says securing promotion is just the first step in a bigger picture for the team.
“This result has been months of hard work and commitment, to secure promotion is fantastic for the club, but we’re hungry, we want the title, we’re not ready to celebrate just yet, we know there are still three games left so there is still a chance,” says Saunders.
The Waiheke United club is somewhat of a marvel for New Zealand football, with the team enjoying a healthy component of passionate foreign players in the senior team from Argentina, Spain, France, Uruguay and Japan.
“Waiheke has been winning titles for 20-years – long before we had this influx of fantastic overseas players.”
“Now we’ve taken the game another level. The football quality has totally changed and inspiring the younger generations coming through the rank of our club.”
“We have a lot of Argentinians, players from France, from Spain and Japan. It’s not about the type of football that they play overseas, it’s about playing football at a fast tempo and continually moving. The fitter the team is, the better game you can play.”
“The technical skills are there, but we really focus on fitness and I think that’s how we have managed to remain successful and to achieve great things in the competition.”
Waiheke United will play Albany United at Rosedale Park next Saturday.