Buckingham names squad for OFC U-19s

Max Mata is one of 10 players in the OFC U-19 Championship squad who featured in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 (FIFA via Getty Images)

New Zealand U-20 Head Coach Des Buckingham has named his squad for the OFC U-19 Championship next month in Tahiti.

The 18-man squad will look to continue New Zealand’s strong record in the championship which will be staged from 6–19 August (NZT) at the Stade Pater and Stade Fautaua in Pirae.

Buckingham said the tournament, where they will face hosts Tahiti, Tonga and Papua New Guinea in their pool games, will be a good challenge for his young squad as they look to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland next year. The top two teams from the OFC U-19 Championship will qualify.

“This is a great learning experience for the players. Tournaments like these help to develop many attributes and qualities that will aid their international development as we build towards future World Cup cycles,” said Buckingham.

“We have a group of players who are highly motivated and looking forward to representing their country at the international level and performing well in Tahiti.”

The squad includes 10 players who competed well at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India in 2017.

“We have had a good week with this group in camp, working hard both physically and mentally and our staff have been pleased with the positive response of the players. We have a huge amount of respect for the teams we will face in Tahiti in testing conditions but we will continue to prepare as well as possible to achieve our goal.”

Qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup is the immediate goal for Buckingham’s team and the bulk of this squad will also be pressing for inclusion in the New Zealand U-23 team who will look to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The New Zealand squad for the OFC U-19 Championship will come back to Auckland for a two-day camp on 30 and 31 July before leaving for Tahiti on 1 August. They open their tournament against hosts Tahiti on 5 August.

New Zealand squad for OFC U-19 Championship (Club/College)

Jorge Akers (Havelock North Wanderers)
Joe Bell (University of Virginia)
Dino Botica (Bay Olympic)
Cameron Brown (Waitemata)
Matthew Conroy (Western Springs)         
Boyd Curry (Onehunga Sports)
Willem Ebbinge (Wellington Phoenix / Scots College)     
Callan Elliot (Wairarapa United)
Zac Jones (Wellington Phoenix / Wellington College)
Max Mata (Onehunga Sports) 
Dane Schnell (Western Springs)
Kingsley Sinclair (Eastern Suburbs / Sacred Heart College)
Jordan Spain (Cashmere Technical)         
Charles Spragg (Eastern Suburbs)            
Robert Tipelu (Onehunga Sports)            
Leon Van Den Hoven (Eastern Suburbs)                 
Oliver Whyte (Wellington Phoenix)
Trevor Zwetsloot (SV Werder Bremen) 

OFC U-19 Championship Schedule

New Zealand vs Tahiti
August 6, 4pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae

New Zealand vs Tonga
August 9, 1pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae

Papua New Guinea vs New Zealand
August 12, 1pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae

August 16 (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae

August 19 (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae

Article added: Friday 27 July 2018


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