Saw an interesting article about Waitakere United today:
Waitakere United's white playing strip is about the only common thread running through a squad coach Steve Cain happily tags his Rainbow Nation.
Preparing for the biggest game of their careers - the O-League final against Fijian champions Ba at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday - the multinational squad shed their different backgrounds long ago.
The squad, which this season won through to the New Zealand Football Championship grand final and now the O-League decider, is made up of players of 12 nationalities.
In between Solomon Islands defender George Suri and his fellow countryman Commins Menapi, who leads the attack, have at times been Hoani Edwards (born in Singapore), Pedro Santos (Brazil), Prince Quansah (Ghana), Jakub Sinkora (Czech Republic), Daniel Kopricvic (Croatia), Craig Wylie (Australia), Graham Pearce (England) Michael White (Wales), Daniel Ellensohn (South Africa), Pedro Garcia (Chile) and Marcel Isakowitz (Germany).
Such a diverse range of footballing backgrounds and styles could have led to a coaching nightmare but English-born Cain says it has been an exact opposite.
"We have had no problems at all. They are all very supportive of each other," said Cain. "Initially, there were some issues but they were mainly with the South American lads and the rest.
"It was more a case of their laid-back approach to the game and their work on the ball whereas my emphasis was often on what they needed to do when they didn't have the ball."
Cain said he had never considered the wide variety of backgrounds when recruiting his squad. "I took them all at face value as players and then looked at the different dimensions they could bring to the game and the way we wanted to play. They have all contributed to that."
Keen to have a big crowd for soccer's return to Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday, Waitakere are keeping ticket prices at $10 or just $5 if bought before match day at several sporting outlets.