Wellington, Sep 21 (IANS) New Zealand Football on Thursday announced a 21-man squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India next month.
“This group has done that and I have been impressed by the squad’s character both in our qualifiers and in our training camps as we build towards this tournament,” New Zealand U-17 coach Danny Hay who played 31 internationals for the nation was quoted as saying.
The FIFA World Cup squad selection was a two-year process for Hay and his assistant coaches Chris Zorocich and Jason Batty and they believe they have named a squad with plenty of character and quality.
“The message is clear to all of these young lads; playing for New Zealand is not a right, it is a privilege. It is something you have to learn and work hard for. The U-17s are the first cab off the rank in international football so this group of players is very excited about going to a World Cup and seeing what they can do. We have a very balanced squad. We have good players right across the park and more so than other age group teams we have some real quality going forward,” the New Zealand U-17 coach said.
New Zealand will open their tournament against Turkey on October 6 before they meet South American powerhouse Paraguay (both in Mumbai) and then complete Group B against African champions Mali (New Delhi) in the tournament, which will be contested from October 6 to 28 October in six venues across India.
New Zealand U-17 squad:
Goalkeepers: Jacob Clark, Zac Jones, Nicholas Milner
Defenders: Liberato Cacace, Boyd Curry, Ben Deeley, Matthew Jones, Joshua Rogerson, Jordan Spain, Emlyn Wellsmore
Midfielders: Willem Ebbinge, Elijah Just, Oliver Duncan, Kieran Richards, Kingsley Sinclair, Oliver Whyte, Leon Van Den Hoven
Forwards: Matthew Conroy, Charles Spragg, Matthew Palmer, Max Mata.