Big Crowd Expected For Phoenix

Organisers are predicting a crowd of over 25,000 for the Wellington Phoenix’ game against Wahingeoh Sports Club at the Nehru Stadium in Shillong today.

Organisers are predicting a crowd of over 25,000 for the Wellington Phoenix- game against Wahingeoh Sports Club at the Nehru Stadium in Shillong today.

Wahingeoh are a local side and fierce rivals of Shillong Lajong who went down 2-5 to the Phoenix in Impahl on Sunday.

They are determined to better that result to show they are stronger than their local rivals.

Another reason for Wahingeoh are wanting a top-class performance against the Wellington side is the injustice they feel in being denied promotion to the top division in controversial fashion at the end of last season.

Needing only a draw in their last league game, Wahingeoh were 3-1 up with five minutes to play when they put a foreign player on as a substitute.

Unfortunately the new player put their foreign quota over the limit. They were docked six points and missed promotion.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert hopes they give his team another decent workout before they face either Shillong Lajong or URO United Sikkim in the final of the North-East Super Series on Saturday.

Herbert told a press conference yesterday that he was delighted to have the team in India.

“The A-League has a very long off-season and it was good to have the opportunity to get away from our Wellington training ground for a while,” Herbert said.

“It is good to get abroad where the culture is different and we encounter a different style of play.

“It has been testing for us and especially beneficial to the young School of Excellence boys who are in the touring party.”

Herbert is also looking forward to playing on an artificial surface after the uneven grass ground the previous two games were played on.