No chilling out for Phoenix and Victory

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC has taken the traditional notion of football as a winter code to heart, with confirmation of a pre-season match against Melbourne Victory in Queenstown next month.

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC has taken the notion of football as a traditional winter code to heart, with confirmation of a pre-season match against Melbourne Victory in Queenstown next month.

The June 27 match at the Queenstown Events Centre will help kick off the famous Winter Festival in the South Island tourist mecca and is a first for all parties involved.

With visitors flooding into Queenstown for Australasia-s ultimate winter event there is certain to be massive interest in the match, slated as one of the highlights of the 10-day Winter Festival.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said the match was an important component in the Phoenix-s pre-season buildup to the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

“It-s also a fantastic opportunity for us to take the team to a different part of the country at a time when the Winter Festival is getting underway. There-s huge interest in the Phoenix and football in the South Island and this will be a really novel event.”

The very real possibility of chilly weather could make things even more interesting.

“The only issue we may have is a bit of snow on the field but we-ll over come that,” Pignata said. “Melbourne are excited about coming to Queenstown and we-ll be recommending they pack their winter woolies.”

Winter Festival director Sally Feinerman said the event attracted a huge number of visitors from throughout New Zealand and Australia.

“I-m sure trans-Tasman rivalry will ensure a good, tight match with plenty of vocal support for both sides.”

The Phoenix will also run a community training and coaching clinic in Queenstown on Friday, June 26, with schoolchildren from throughout the region invited to attend.

The Phoenix-Victory game kicks off at 2.30pm (NZST) the following day.

Match tickets go on sale on Monday, May 18, and will be available through TicketDirect at the Queenstown Events Centre, i-Site or by phoning 0064 (0)3 450 9005.

Meanwhile, planning is continuing for additional Phoenix pre-season activity.

A match against the Central Coast Mariners in Australia in July has been slated, while the Phoenix will also travel to Christchurch for a three-day visit which includes a match against a Mainland Football Selection.

“We-re also working on a trip to China, so we-ve got a busy time leading into our first competition match of the season on August 9,” said Pignata.