December 7, 2023

Big departures in New Zealand

In the span of a day, the two biggest clubs in New Zealand have seen their managers depart, as both Ramon Tribulietx and José Figueira leave their clubs.

In the span of a day, the two biggest clubs in New Zealand have seen their managers depart, as both Ramon Tribulietx and José Figueira leave their clubs.

Tribulietx Figueira
José Figueira (left) and Ramon Tribulietx have left their positions at Team Wellington and Auckland City (Photo credit: Stuff/Photosport / Stuff/Getty)

Both moves come as massive surprises, with Auckland-legend Tribulietx the first to depart on Thursday local time.

“Ramon has been the driving force behind our success for over a decade and his achievements at domestic and international level in terms of winning trophies won’t be matched for a very long time,” club Chairman Ivan Vuksich said in a statement on the club website.

Money is apparently the main reason the Spaniard, who has been at Auckland for 11 years and won seven straight OCL titles from 2011-2017, has had to leave.

“The club is undergoing significant changes to its financial structure that mean we have to move in a fresh direction and our search for the next person to lead us into the future begins.

“I want to thank Ramon for his outstanding service over the past 11 years and have no doubt there will be demand for his expertise,” Vuksich said.

Tribulietx: “I am very proud”

Tribulietx is thankful for his time at the club and in a statement said:

“I’ve had 11 years with the club and it’s been a very long journey, a lot longer than I expected it to be. I never thought at the beginning of my tenure that I would be at Auckland City FC for as long as that and it’s an achievement I am very proud of.

“A lot of hard work has gone into making the club successful but none more so than at the start when we completely changed the playing philosophy and style of the team.

“My best memory is our bronze medal finish at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco five years ago.

“That was an unbelievable achievement given the level we had to reach to compete with professional clubs of huge potential and standard. We reached a level that is difficult to get to and to finish with a medal is incredible.

“For a club of our size to achieve that on the world stage will remain with me for the rest of my life. I want to thank everyone connected to the club for their support including the club committee, the coaching staff, supporters and of course all of the players I worked with during my tenure,” he said.

Figueira out in Wellington

The other of the breaking coaching moves in Kiwi football is that of José Figueira, who has chosen to leave Team Wellington after three successful years.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Team Wellington – it’s a special environment to be a part of; the players, the staff, our partners and sponsors, supporters and all those connected with the club,” Figueira said in a statement on the club website.

“Team Wellington has a strong culture both on and off the pitch and it’s one that makes this club so unique.

“During my three seasons with the club, it’s been great to see players develop and move on to other leagues, professional contracts and representing their country. That kind of progression is a true testament to the work ethic of the team and all that goes on behind the scenes.”

He took the battle to Auckland City both domestically and continentally and managed to topple his fellow abdicating coach both domestically and continentally on a few occasions, lastly by winning the OCL in 2018.

“Jose has certainly made a huge impression on the club,” club Chairman Peter Chote said in the statement.

“Not only his dedication to developing young players, but his playing philosophy and clear vision has enabled the club to achieve some fantastic honours during his time.

“It’s an end of an era for Team Wellington with his departure but an exciting time for the club to rebuild in the upcoming season.

“I would like to thank José for everything he has done during his tenure, and on behalf of the club, partners, sponsors, and supporters wish him and his family, all the very best for the future.”

Figueira will now turn his focus to his roles at the New Zealand national setup, which firstly consists of taking the U17 men’s team to the World Cup in Brazil later this year.

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