Auckland’s Kiwi-Indian fans will have a rare feast of watching two of their biggest stars, Roy Krishna and Sarpreet Singh, play in New Zealand’s biggest city for the A-League clash between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory next month in Eden Park.
The widely anticipated A-League clash is scheduled for Friday, February 15, on a weekend dubbed by Eden Park as sports lovers’ extravaganza weekend, for hosting another Super Rugby fixture between the Blues and the Crusaders the following night.
The A-League is the professional men's soccer league of Australia and Wellington Phoenix is the only New Zealand-based professional club that competes at the highest level of football in this part of the world.
There is huge expectation among soccer fans for the match as the Wellington Phoenix is coming to New Zealand’s national stadium with an enviable reputation of being undefeated at the venue, along with the recent win over the same adversary at the away match in Melbourne last week.
However, Kiwi-Indian soccer fans will have added reason to be excited, apart from the capital-based club’s reputation – that of watching the two Indian-origin star players play at New Zealand’s largest city.
While Roy Krishna has attained star status in the team completing 100 games for the club last November, Sarpreet Singh’s stocks have also risen fast in the previous year.
Playing as a striker Roy Krishna became the outright leading goal scorer for the Wellington Phoenix in December 2018, overtaking previous leader Paul Ifill's 33 goals for the club. His fourth-round goal against Brisbane Roar was deemed the team's Goal of the Year for the 2017–18 season.
Auckland-born Sarpreet Singh who grew up playing for the local club Onehunga Sports plays as attacking midfielder for Wellington Phoenix.
Sarpreet joined the Wellington Phoenix Academy in early 2015 after impressing for the New Zealand under-17 side, eventually signing his first senior contract with Wellington Phoenix in 2017.
After making a series of substitute appearances in 2017, Sarpreet was named in the starting line up for the first time on February 2018 and since then had become a regular in the team.
He finished the season as the second-highest goal scorer at the club behind Andrija Kaluderovic, despite only playing eleven games.
Carrying his form into the 2018-19 season, Sarpreet capped for New Zealand’s All White and winning many accolades for his performance in four-nation tournament in India in June 2018.
His assists in All-White’s two goals against much higher ranked India in that tournament not only helped All Whites defeat India on their home turf but also won him many fans in the country from where his parents originally emigrated to NZ.
Speaking highly about the two players Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome told The Indian Weekender “We’re very proud of our Phoenix players with Indian heritage, in Roy Krishna and Sarpreet Singh, they are two of the brightest stars in the team and they are a credit to their families and communities, being outstanding both on and off the field."
Further expressing confidence in his team Mr Dome said, “It’s the first time we’re heading back to Eden Park since 2014 and the team are looking forward to going back to Auckland.
“The team have a great run so far this season, with only one loss in 11 games to date and they are playing an exciting style of football.
“We have a talented team, with a blend of young, up and coming stars and experienced overseas and foreign players.
“We’re expecting a big crowd at Eden Park, it’s one of New Zealand's greatest stadiums and our fans always bring something special – their singing and chanting – it’s a unique experience and one that you need to experience,” Mr Dome said.
Fixture: Wellington Phoenix versus Melbourne Victory
When: Friday, February 15, 7.30 pm
Tickets: Tickets available at ticketmaster.co.nz