Waiheke, the 'Argentine club' that arrived in New Zealand first

Waiheke, the ‘Argentine club’ that arrived in New Zealand first

The establishment, which is located on the small island of the same name in that country, has just been upgraded to the First Division in the Northern Region, where it will face teams like Auckland City. The team has dozens of Argentines who have cemented it and managed to climb seven teams in just eight years.

Waiheke

employment New Zealand There is a club with Argentine rules which is impressive because it has just been promoted to NRFL Premier, which is the highest football division in the north of that country. Waiheke United AFC is an entity established in 1987 and located on the island of the same nameJust minutes away from Auckland, the capital. Until 2013, he had an unimportant run across regional football, but Everything changed at the end of that year, when an Argentine arrived at the venue and joined the team. From there, other citizens arrived at the institution that garnered six consecutive promotions in four years. In 2021, after stopping due to the epidemic, he made history: he was crowned champion and got a place to compete in the most important class in the region.

The intellectual author of this story is called Facundo Calvo, who reached the oceanic continent at the end of 2013. He was the first Argentine to wear a Waiheke shirt since its inception and also the culprit for what comes next. Calvo began recruiting players from among the many Argentines and Latin Americans who came to Paradise Island for vacation or to look for new opportunities.

I’m from the city of Olivos, but in 2013 we started a trip to New Zealand with my girlfriend. I really wanted to play football and test myself to see how far I could go. That’s how I decided to join thanks to the insistence of my friend (Calvo). At that time it was very amateurish, and it was played for fun. Then the years passed The club was transforming and developing from small to big, so more and more Latinos started discovering what we were achieving, law Project Alan Mons, an Argentine who lives in New Zealand and divides his time between making a living as a cook and being the captain of the team.

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Alan Mons

New Zealand football is divided into three regions: North, Central and South. In turn, each one has different sections. In the highest category in the north, which the Argentine team will now be able to take part in, historic Auckland City, San Lorenzo’s 2014 Club World Cup semi-final rival, take part, among other clubs. Above these three amateur leagues that are played during the winter season, there are New Zealand Football Championship (NZFC), which is a semi-professional competition which is the major league in the country and has a closed format as there are no promotions or relegations. Until 2016, it was intended exclusively for franchises, but then it was opened to clubs. Auckland is one of the ten teams to play and winning it gives a ticket to the Oceania Champions League.

Therefore, from now on, you will touch the elite island establishment. The merit is double because none of them devote themselves exclusively to football. “The club is special because we do everything with our lungs, there is no money involved and this sets us apart from the rest. Each has a parallel job. Some work in construction, some in vineyards and there are painters.”, details Llunes, who plays as a central pointer and as a teenager came to establish himself at River.

Since its launch eight years ago, Waiheke has attracted attention in New Zealand for its peculiarities: a club with Latino features located in a country where football is far from a popular sport.We currently have between 40 and 45 Latin Americans. Most of us are Argentines, but there are some Uruguayans and Chileans. Members of the two campuses – Primera and Reserva – are travelers who generally live here for a year with a work visa on vacation and then leave. This island is very beautiful and many summer residents come to it, so those who stay in winter play in WaihekeSummarize the satellites.

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A clear example of that Axel Gomez, another citizen of the team. After graduation, he decided to leave Argentina to have the experience of living in another country. Although his arrival on the island was not planned. “After arriving in Auckland, one day I was walking around the port and found a ferry bound for Waiheke. There I remembered that I had once heard that there were many Argentines, so I wanted to go. As for the club, I knew it from a note I saw at the time and when I arrived The first thing I did was ask when they would train to join me.”, CV.

however, What surprises the locals is not the sporting achievements of the institution, but what is happening around them. It is that the small Al-Jazira club with a population of 8,000 and an area of ​​92 square kilometers has a crowd of color and party that indicates the origin of most footballers.

Waiheke swollen

Colorful torches, the sound of drums accompanied by songs, Boca, River or Argentina shirts and even flags in honor of Maradona, are some postcards that are repeated from Pipazo, which is the name given to themselves by the hundreds of fans who follow the team in every field. “Every time we play as a visitor, the clubs are responsible for making special calls so that we are not less than our fans. Besides following us everywhere, every Thursday, after the last weekly training session, they organize a meal that we share together and raise funds for the Saturday party”The two admit.

Waiheke

Like what many might think about New Zealand football, Lounes, who is one of the longest serving players, arrived with doubts about the level. “At first, you might look at it a little bit, but as we go through the class you find that they have a good level, although their style is very different from ours. Maybe it’s not a flashy game, but they have a good development of their idea. They are requested and sometimes it is Difficult to open scoreboard, he is referring to.

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As of 2022, Waiheke has been released, which Last season was devoted to 34 units, the product of eleven victories, four defeats and one drawHe will face the most important challenge of his 30-plus years of life, and although it is difficult, at the club they dream of making the leap. “The most satisfying thing is to be able to stay in the first place to integrate sponsors to help us grow. After, after, When we put on the jersey, we aim for everything: finish in the top four, play in the national championship and try to win it to qualify for the Oceania Champions.. It looks remote, but it’s easy to get to. The pandemic has been on our side because unlike in other years, many boys who have been going through New Zealand have decided to stay and we have been playing together for a long time.Llunes excited. Waiheke certainly wouldn’t miss the Argentinian’s breath on his way to realizing the illusion.

Fotos: Waiheke United.

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