September 6, 2012
AUCKLAND – All Whites coach Ricki Herbert is calling on his side to channel the emotion of the OFC Nations Cup loss to New Caledonia when the sides meet again in Noumea on Friday night to begin the third stage of FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Much has been made of the All Whites’ desire to redeem themselves after that semi-final defeat in Honiara in June put paid to hopes of qualifying for next year’s FIFA Confederations Cup.
Indeed, Herbert says the team still feel driven to make amends by reaching the World Cup finals in Brazil – via a November 2013 intercontinental playoff between the winner of Oceania stage 3 and the fourth placed team in North American qualifying – but says any lingering disappointment needs to be channelled into a positive opening statement to this chapter of the qualifying campaign.
“I think we’ve got to very professional about it and make sure the minds are right,” Herbert said.
“The emotion that came out of the Nations Cup is something that’ll be around for a long time. It would be disappointing if people didn’t have a strong feeling about it and wanting to put it right. It’s how you manage that now and put in a performance that is good enough to win over here. We’re very keen to get it back on track with strong, positive, winning performances.
With skipper Ryan Nelsen and in-form West Ham defender Winston Reid available after missing the Nations Cup with injury, Herbert is tending towards reuniting the pair with Tommy Smith as a reprisal of his World Cup back three.
“When we have everyone available, and this probably the first time since the World Cup we’ve had that, then it’s been a successful system for us.”
Elsewhere, Herbert has plenty of options to choose from with Michael McGlinchey, Dan Keat, Tim Payne and Ivan Vicelich competing for two central midfield berths. There is also a log jam of talent in the front third where Shane Smeltz, Chris Wood, Kosta Barbarouses, Jeremy Brockie, Marco Rojas and Chris Killen – who arrived in Noumea on Thursday – are all pieces of a selection puzzle.
“The variety we have now is certainly more than we’ve had historically. There are choices now not only on who we play but how we play.“The middle of the park is starting to grow. Somebody like a Tim Payne was very good at the Olympics and is just adding to the volume of quality in that area of the pitch.
“There are more choices which is a challenging but very good position to be in. We’re not going to have a lot of time with the team so that may shape our thinking somewhat as well.”
Herbert and his team and fully aware of the dangers posed by a New Caledonia outfit containing Olivier Dokunengo, Georges Gope-Fenepej and OFC Player of the Year Bertrand Kai but still plans to stamp the All Whites mark on this stage of the qualifying campaign early.
“There will always be a respect for what sides can do after what happened in the Nations Cup and we know that if we make mistakes the chance of being punished is higher now.
“But we have to be on the front foot and be confident. We have all our senior players back which is a great help.
“We will have to be careful and do things very well but we be confident and have the mindset of coming here and winning. “
The match kick offs at 7pm New Zealand time with live play-by-play updates available at www.oceaniafootball.com. The region’s other match day one encounter sees Solomon Islands – who the All Whites play in Auckland on Tuesday night – host Oceania Champions Tahiti in Honiara at 4pm New Zealand time.
FIFA World Cup 2014 Qualifiers Stage 3
Match Day 1
New Caledonia v New Zealand
Friday 7 September
6pm (7pm NZT)
Stade Numa Daly
Noumea, New Caledonia
Live play by play updates on www.oceaniafootball.com
Referee: Norbert HAUATA (TAH)
Assistant Referee 1: Tevita MAKASINI (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Philippe REVEL (TAH)
4th Official: Averii JACQUES (TAH)
New Caledonia: 1-Rocky NYIKEINE (GK), 2-Jeremie DOKUNENGO, 3-Emile BEARUNE, 4-Georges BEARUNE, 5-Kalaje GNIPATE, 6-Olivier DOKUNENGO, 7-Dominique WACALIE, 8-Miguel KAYARA, 9-Jacques HAEKO, 10-Cesar LOLOHEA, 11-Bertrand KAI, 12-Roy KAYARA, 13-Noel KAUDRE, 14-Jean-Patrick WAKANUMUNE, 15-Dick KAUMA, 16-Iamel KABEU, 17-Joel WAKANUMUNE, 18-Yohann MERCIER, 19-Georges GOPE-FENEPEJ, 20-Steeve IXOEE (GK), 21-Luther WAHNYAMALLA, 22-Marc OUNEMOA (GK), 23-Pierre NYIKEINE.
Coach: Alain MOIZAN
New Zealand: 1-Mark PASTON (GK), 2-Winston REID, 3-Tony LOCHHEAD, 4-Ben SIGMUND, 5-Tommy SMITH, 6-Ryan NELSEN (captain), 7-Leo BERTOS, 8-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9-Shane SMELTZ, 10-Chris KILLEN, 11-Marco ROJAS, 12-Glen MOSS (GK), 13-Dan KEAT, 15-Ivan VICELICH, 16-Jeremy BROCKIE, 17-Kosta BARBAROUSES, 18-Tim PAYNE, 19-Michael BOXALL, 20-Chris WOOD.
Coach: Ricki HERBERT