You are in / Article

Broxham: Getting to play in AFC Champions League is always a new challenge

Doha: Melbourne Victory midfielder Leigh Broxham believes the A-League team has a "real opportunity" in the 2020 AFC Champions League ahead of the side's Continental campaign resumption against Beijing FC on Tuesday.

Long-serving one-club man Leigh Broxham exclusively spoke to to discuss the new arrivals at Melbourne Victory, the team's prospects in Doha and his goals for the 2020 AFC Champions League.

See also :

Hi Leigh, what are your thoughts heading into the resumption of Melbourne Victory's 2020 AFC Champions League on Tuesday?

It's always an exciting competition to play in. We've played a few games so far and we won one, so there's an opportunity for us to progress in the tournament.

At the same time, it's difficult circumstances; we're in pre-season, we've got a whole new team and are still putting things together. So, it'll be a tough experience, but there's a real opportunity to achieve something, considering that everyone's going through the same thing.

You've played in a number of AFC Champions League campaigns, what makes it such a special tournament?

I've been at Melbourne Victory for a long time and in the domestic league we're always playing against the same teams.

It's special to do that but getting to play in Asia's premier competition and testing yourself against some very good players at some big clubs is always a new challenge.

There's things that I haven't achieved yet in the AFC Champions League that I still think we can do here at this club, and that's something that makes the tournament interesting for me personally.

Unlike the sides from Korea Republic, China PR, Japan and Thailand whose domestic seasons are ongoing or only recently concluded, A-League sides are currently in pre-season. How much of a positive or negative is that for you?

I think it's tough for us as we're rebuilding and putting together a team here. Perhaps some of the other sides who have recently finished their seasons are set to lose players too, so in general there will be positives and negatives for each team.

For us, it's an opportunity to work on things, to come together with new players. If you're going to be in and out of each other's pockets for a few weeks, it's a good chance to get to know each other in an informal environment.

At the same time, we are still working on things on the field, so it might not go perfectly for us. But it does give us competitive games, while it's tough to play anyone in Australia currently with the COVID-19 restrictions.

As you've mentioned there are some new faces in the squad, who are some of the players that Asian football fans should keep an eye out for?

There are some players who've come in like Callum McMananman who's looking very good. It's exciting to see what players like Ben Folami and Jacob Butterfield can do; one is starting out his career, the other one has already had a good career.

There's also a lot of returning players who are getting a proper pre-season under their belt and looking very good too. Hopefully we can all get it together in time to see what they can do.

There are also some new faces among the coaching staff, how will their experience help you in the 2020 AFC Champions League campaign?

It's [Grant] Brebner's first senior coaching gig and he's brought in people around him that can really contribute to what he wants to implement and it can only be good.

Steve [Kean] has just started and we can see he's experienced and what he's going to bring, and he will just bring more and more as time goes on and he gets more comfortable.

They are good changes, and it looks positive.

Group E is shaping up to be a tight group, what are your thoughts on the teams you're set to face in Doha?

We've seen our opponents in two games so far [a 1-0 win over Chiangrai United and a 1-0 defeat to FC Seoul] and they were both close games. But you know we're hopeful we can get some more wins.

It's hard to know what teams are going to show up as a result of in this environment, which is different for everyone, the same goes for Beijing as well. It'll be interesting to see.

We'll go into each game quietly confident that we can get something out of each game because we know they're all very good teams.

Group E - MD1: Melbourne Victory 1-0 Chiangrai United

And finally, what are your personal goals for 2020 AFC Champions League?

The first aim is to get out of the group. It's a tough group but there are some winnable games. The ambition is to get out of the group and then you're into the knockout stage and from there it's just one game, no home or away, and anything can happen in one game – we'll see how far we can go.

Photos: Melbourne Victory

Recommended Stories :