World Club: Hienghene, the amateurs who want to challenge Liverpool


DOHA – While it is time for the Champions League in Europe, in Qatar the last edition of the Club World Cup begins with the current format, given that FIFA will expand it to 24 teams, also changing admission criteria and timing (in fact it should be held in June ). Who knows if in the future stories like the one that closes 2019, of a team that represents a reality of 2500 inhabitants, Hienghene, which is 380 km from Noumea, capital of New Caledonia, will be possible. This team won, surprisingly, the Champions of Oceania, thus gaining the right to participate in the world championship tournament, where they will play the inaugural match against the champions of Qatar, Al Sadd, trained by the former idol of Barcelona Xavi, that of this club in the past was also a player, having undressed the blaugrana jacket.

The captain is a surf instructor: the dream is to challenge Liverpool

Until now, the only appearance of New Caledonia in elite football was the participation of its under-17 national team in the world championship two years ago, but now it is a club with the field by the sea to carry on the football passion of this country where they go for the greatest surfing, kitesurfing and golf. And his own surf instructor, as well as a footballer, is captain Bertrand Kai, a 36-year-old striker who, with his presence at this World Cup, has crowned a dream "that I never imagined would be realized". "We are amateurs – he explains – and, in addition to football, we have to deal with other commitments, including family ones. It is not easy, we have made many sacrifices but it was worth it since we became champions of Oceania and now we are here "It still doesn't seem real, but now we'll try to do our best." On paper, Hienghene, in case of victory against Al Sadd and then, in the following round, with Monterrey, could even have the honor to challenge the European champions of Liverpool in the semifinals.

Favorite Al Sadd trained by Xavi

In truth, however, the favorite of the inaugural match is obviously the Al Sadd from Xavi, who won the World Cup twice (2009 and 2011) as a player with that Barcelona that he dreams of training one day. Meanwhile, try to learn the secrets of the tiki-taka from his Qatari champions, "because I suffer when my team does not have a ball. I grew up in Barcelona, ​​I have a certain vision of football and I try to teach it. The game with Hienghene? We know we are favorites, but then we have to translate it on the field. On us there is the pressure to play at home and therefore the expectations of the public, but mine will spare no effort ".

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