February 13, 2013
AUCKLAND - The six nations seeking to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 now know the path they must take to get there after the conducting of the official draw for the OFC U-17 Championship.
The tournament will be held on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, from April 17 to 25 and will involve the hosts, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, who will all be battling it out for the one place on offer at UAE 2013.
Cook Islands qualified for the main event after emerging triumphant over American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga in the preliminary tournament, held in Apia, Samoa from January 22 to 26.
The official draw for the OFC U-17 Championship was conducted today at the OFC headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand, by OFC Head of Competitions David Firisua with the assistance of members of the OFC General Secretariat.
The teams will play each other once in a round robin tournament based on a league system and all matches will be staged at the recently-redeveloped Chapuis Stadium in Luganville. The kick-off times will be confirmed in due course.
New Zealand's Young All Whites are the defending champions of Oceania at U-17 level after earning the title as hosts in 2011 and going on to compete at that years FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico. They performed well on the global stage, making the Round of 16 thanks largely to a memorable 4-1 win over Uzbekistan before being knocked out by Japan.
A training squad is currently playing in the ASB Youth League under the banner of the Northern-based U-17s and is currently tied for the lead in the northern conference with Auckland City.
Additional reporting by oceaniafootball.com
OFC U-17 Championship 2013
Match Day 1 April 17
Papua New Guinea vs. Vanuatu
New Zealand vs. Cook Islands
Fiji vs. New Caledonia
Match Day 2 April 19
Cook Islands vs Papua New Guinea
Vanuatu vs. Fiji
New Caledonia vs. New Zealand
Match Day 3 April 21
Vanuatu vs. New Zealand
Fiji vs. Papua New Guinea
New Caledonia vs. Cook Islands
Match Day 4 April 23
Papua New Guinea vs. New Caledonia
New Zealand vs. Fiji
Cook Islands vs. Vanuatu
Match Day 5 April 25
New Zealand vs. Papua New Guinea
Cook Islands vs. Fiji
New Caledonia vs. Vanuatu