Daniel 100 Not Out

Daniel will join Tim Brown in the Wellington Phoenix Centurions Club tomorrow when he plays his 100th Hyundai A-League game for theclub against the Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium.

Daniel will join Tim Brown in the Wellington Phoenix Centurions Club tomorrow when he plays his 100th Hyundai A-League game for theclub against the Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium.

As the team bus headed to Newcastle from Sydney today Daniel, a founder member of the club, reminisced about the last five years.

“Joining the Phoenix in 2007 changed my life,” Daniel said.

“When I arrived I couldn-t speak English, had no children. Now I speak English well, even though the other players still tease me, and have two lovely children. “I scored the Phoenix- first goal and during those years lost my two grandfathers, who both loved football.

“When I scored in a 1-0 pre-season win over the Central Coast Mariners I dedicated the goal to my grandfather because I couldn-t get to their funerals. “I was named Wellington Personality of the Year and have made so many friends over the five years.

“People like Michael Ferrante, Ross Aloisi, Richard Johnson and Diego might have left the club but they remain my friends and we keep in touch.

“With my real family so far away those at the Phoenix, both management and players, are my family.”

Anyone who knows Daniel well will tell you what an emotional person he is, and tomorrow is a massive moment in his career. “I never for a moment thought I would reach such a milestone, but for me getting three points is more important than 100 games,” he said.

“I have never thought about Daniel, always the group and it will be the same tomorrow.”

While talking, Daniel said he would not be having this conversation but for Terry Serepisos and he remains a close friend of the man who founded the Phoenix.

“Terry and Ricki (Herbert) changed football in New Zealand and they should be thanked,” he said.

“It doesn-t matter to me whether he is the owner or not. He is my friend.

“Ricki is a good coach and a good friend and I-ve enjoyed working with him.”

Daniel becomes available to play for the All Whites this year, and would love the opportunity to pull on an international shirt.

“I don-t know what the future holds for me,” Daniel, who is off contract at the end of the year, said.

“If it is my choice I would like to finish my career at the Phoenix and play for the All Whites."

Coach Ricki Herbert is unlikely to make any changes to the side that beat Gold Coast United 1-0 on Sunday and Daniel is likely to come off the bench.