New Zealand U17 Men’s Head Coach José Figueira is pleased with the squad he has named for the FIFA U-17 World Cup next month in Brazil.
The OFC Champions, who defeated the Solomon Islands in the OFC U16 Championship Final on penalties in September last year to book their place in the World Cup, will take on the hosts Brazil, Canada and Angola in the tournament that will be staged from 26 October to 17 November.
Figueira, who is heading to his first FIFA World Cup with a national age group team, is excited about the challenge in Brazil with a talented group of young men.
“I’m really excited about this group of players,” said Figueira. “This squad is a culmination of a big 18 plus months where we have identified players in what is a really strong age group across the country.
“It is exciting for New Zealand Football that we have a great group of young players coming through, and assembling this 21-man squad to take on some of the best teams from around the world is an exciting challenge for us. Now the focus and the preparations go up another notch as we count down to us departing.”
Figueira has selected 16 of the 20 players who earned the team qualification last year at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara. There are also 16 players from NZ team that travelled to China and claimed a bronze medal in the invitational Panda Cup, where they opened the tournament with an impressive 2-0 win over the Chinese People’s Republic U-18 side in Chengdu.
“There is a core of the group who have been there since the beginning of the cycle and what you find in this age group is you get boys that pop up on the scene, develop at different times, but was is exciting is and all of those players are in a really good space in their football. It is good to have that core but I’m also excited about the ones who have come on the scene in the past five to six months. We have a great blend and balance to this squad.”
The squad includes nine players from the Wellington Phoenix Academy (Lower Hutt City) and five players from the Ole Academy (Western Suburbs). There are seven players from Scots College in Wellington.
Figueira recently travelled to Brasília for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Workshop. He said it was great to see the facilities and get familiar with their group stage home at Bezerrão Stadium.
New Zealand will begin their FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign against debutants Angola, before taking on hosts Brazil second, and Canada in their final pool game.
New Zealand has made the Round of the 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on three occasions (2009, 2011 and 2015) but failed to advance at the last event staged in India in 2017.
“First and foremost the goal for this group is to go over to Brazil and play the way we want to play, to trust in our processes and that style will naturally dovetail into results. I am confident that if we can go there and show who we are, and play with real bravery and a good attitude - that I know we can, then there is no reason why we cannot aim to get out of the group. Our first focus however is on game one against Angola which is only weeks’ away now.”
Please find attached audio from an interview with NZ U-17 men’s coach José Figueira
New Zealand squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup (Club / School)
Alexander Paulsen (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Finn O'Connor (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Harry Bark (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Campbell Strong (Eastern Suburbs / Sacred Heart College)
Jackson Simpkin (Brisbane City / Anglican Church Grammar School)
Adam Hillis (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Keegan Jelacic (Queensland Lions / Kimberly College)
Henry Hamilton (Lower Hutt City / Wellington College)
Jesse Randall (North Wellington / Rongotai College)
Matthew Garbett (Western Suburbs / Wellington College)
Nathan Lobo (Birkenhead United / Liston College)
Kris Naicker (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Luca Taylor (Birkenhead United / Mount Albert Grammar)
Oskar van Hattum (Lower Hutt City / NZIS)
Bradley Wilson (Western Springs / St Peters College Auckland)
Max Drake (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Benjamin Old (Lower Hutt City / Scots College)
Sean Bright (Western Suburbs / Tawa College)
Marko Stamenic (Western Suburbs / St Patricks College, Kilbirnie)
Otto Ingham (Western Suburbs / Tawa College)
Callum Kennett (Lower Hutt City / Palmerston North Boys)
FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019
New Zealand v Angola
Estádio Bezerrão, Gama
Kick-off: 8pm local time
Brazil v New Zealand
Estádio Bezerrão, Gama
Kick-off: 8pm local time
Canada v New Zealand
Estádio Bezerrão, Gama
Kick-off: 8pm local time
Contesting the final was the straightforward part of the week for Baradene College of the Sacred Heart’s First XI football team last Friday.
Earning the right to get to the decider in the first place and defend their NZSS Girls Premier Lotto title they won for their first time last year was far from plain sailing.
“It was almost a relief to get to the final because we played a really tough semi against Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, who we beat on penalties,” said Baradene striker and co-captain Hannah Pilley. “So that kind of felt like the bigger game.”
It was 0-0 at fulltime in the semi-final against EGGS and Baradene scraped through to the decider against Hillcrest in a penalty shootout.
“We then beat Hillcrest 3-0 and we got those goals pretty early,” said Hannah who scored two of those goals.
“We also won the APC Knockout Cup, so our team has won three titles this year so it is really good,” enthused Hannah.
Then there was the matter of getting out of their pool and making the ‘top 16’, explained team manager Bernadette Goulding.
“We lost our first pool game of the tournament 1-0 to Westlake Girls’ High School. We then beat Queen Margaret College 9-0 in our second game and luckily we won that convincingly as we drew our third pool game 1-1 against Sacred Heart, New Plymouth.”
Baradene thus made the top half of the draw for the remainder of the week on goal difference.
They then beat St Mary’s College, Wellington, 1-0, in a replay of their 2018 quarter-final against the same opposition. Their next win was in the quarter-final against Wellington East Girls’ College, 4-0.
“Then on to our semi-final against EGGS whom we had just played the week before in the final of the APC Cup and we had beaten them on penalties then,” said Bernadette.
“So we knew they would be out for revenge against us, plus they had lost their semi-final at nationals last year.”
In Friday’s final Baradene lined up against Hamilton’s Hillcrest High School, who had beaten Mount Albert Grammar School in a penalty shootout (2-2 fulltime) in their semi-final the previously day.
EGGS beat MAGS 1-0 in the third versus fourth place match, while Westlake GHS beat Napier Girls’ High School 2-1 to finish fifth.
On Sunday, Hannah also played a starring role for her Suburbs ‘Lily Whites’ team in the final of the NZ Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup, scoring two first half goals to see her side lead 4-0 at halftime and sail to victory in the second 45 minutes against Coastal Spirit.
“I scored in the first four minutes and then we scored three more, so this game and the school final both didn’t really feel like real finals.”
Hannah played eight games inside a week for school and club, returning to school this week to sit mock Level 3 NCEA exams.
Hannah was one of several Baradene players who were nursing injuries throughout the past week.
“I got an ankle injury in the Kate Sheppard Cup semi-final two weeks ago, so I was unsure if I could play at tournament week but thought to just go and strap it every game.”
Bernadette said that as well as Hannah’s ankle, the team lost another player to injury in the first game, another was nursing a hamstring and back injury, another pulled a glute in the quarter-final and another player had a crook ankle. “So we were actually held together with tape in the end.”
“Winning the tournament again came down to heart and the way the team gelled and handled pressure. We had eight players at nationals for the first time. Some of them new to the team, including two players from the Junior As and one from the second XI.”
“We had one year nine and four year 10s in Christchurch.”
As well as Hannah, who was last year’s Golden Boot winner and was in the New Zealand U17 team, Prue Catton was a leading player week, scoring eight goals, while Ruby Nathan is an up and coming year 9 midfielder.
Bernadette said a key to Baradene’s success this year has been “less is best.”
“We only train once a week, which is one of the reasons why we managed to survive!”
“A lot of the Baradene girls play club football, so they train two or three times a week plus playing, and some of them are also part of the FFDP programme so they are playing extra. So our coach Ryan Shiffman intelligently decided to train the girls once a week and that consisted of walk throughs of set plays and a few small-sided games.”
Of note, Auckland schools dominated this year’s tournament, with three out of four semi-finals coming from Auckland and no South Island schools reaching the top 16.
Baradene’s close neighbour Sacred Heart College also won the equivalent Boys tournament and defended their title.
Bardene College 2019 National Squad:
Hannah Pilley (c)
Margaret Wood GK (c)
*Sophia De Magalhaes
Coach: Ryan Shiffman
Managers: Rachel Buyck (Term 2 season)
Bernadette Goulding (Term 3 season and Nationals)
Injured starters who didn’t attend Nationals:
Ruby Rimmer (injured prior to 2019 school season)
Petra Buyck (injured during 2019 club season)
Rosa Caird (injured during 2019 club season)
Kate Duncan (injured during 2019 club season)
*New to the team this year
Beckham Wheeler-Greenall is from a passionate and accomplished football family. Three of his uncles played for Otago United and Wheeler-Greenall is named after David Beckham, the former Manchester United and England star.
Last week at the National First XI tournament in Napier, Wheeler-Greenall produced a Beckham like moment which helped King’s High School, Dunedin eliminate Auckland Premier league champions, and pre-tournament favourites, Saint Kentigern College in the Round of 16.
Wheeler-Greenall scored a goal from halfway when St Kent’s was flooding forward in desperate pursuit of an equaliser.
“We were 1-0 ahead with about three minutes to go,” Wheeler-Greenall recalled.
“St Kent’s pushed all their players forward and headed the ball into our box. One of our defenders managed to touch it away. I turned and took a touch on halfway and noticed their goalie was out of the box. I kicked it dead straight and it went in. It’s the best goal I’ve ever scored. It total was madness.”
St Kent’s responded swiftly, but an earlier strike by Raven August secured the Presbyterians' demise.
“Raven’s goal was a great finish. Against the run of play the ball was bobbling around the box. I touched it to Raven who touched it back to me. I touched it back to Raven and he had a crack and beat the keeper from 20 yards,” Wheeler-Greenall acclaimed.
King’s High School's cautious tactics and sturdy defense ensured a goalless first-half. Halftime brought about a change in tactics.
“The St Kent’s game was awesome. Everybody stepped up and played their best. We decided to sit back, get numbers behind the ball, and watch in the first-half. When they couldn’t score, our confidence grew and we started to play our own game. They were definitely rattled. It was a great effort from all the boys,” Wheeler-Greenall enthused.
King’s were arguably better in the quarter finals the next day against another Auckland powerhouse, Mount Albert Grammar School. First-half goals to Jan Ackmann and Kaleb De Groot Green secured another 2-1 victory.
“The boys were really up after the St Kent’s game. Once we beat St Kent’s we knew we could beat anyone. We had some chances in the second-half and could have won by more,” Wheeler-Greenall observed.
King’s impressive run would end in the semi-finals against Auckland Grammar School, but a fourth place finish is the highest ever achieved by King’s at Nationals.
“Our goal was to get out of our group and if we’d finished in the top eight we would have been ecstatic. To finish top four and beat arguably the best team there was awesome,” Wheeler-Greenall surmised.
King’s started the tourney in emphatic fashion thumping King’s College, Auckland 4-0. However lapses in concentration saw King’s earn a lucky 2-2 draw against Waimea College and sneak out of the group.
“We played really well on the first morning to beat King’s. We expected to beat Waimea, but dropped our guard. Tom Poole made a safe in that game that kept us in the tournament,” Wheeler-Greenall conceded.
A lack of competition locally might explain their lack of edge against Waimea. King’s won their local five-team league this year, beating the second XI in the final.
King’s also swept their four annual inter-school fixtures against Southland Boys’ High School, Wakatipu High School, Mount Aspiring School and Waitaki Boys’ High School; the Waitaki score was 16-1!
King’s lose six players from the 2019 team next year.
In the summer Wheeler-Greenall is a right arm off spin bowler and opening batsman in the First XI cricket team.
King’s drew with Southland Boys’ High School and beat Waitaki Boys’ High School in their inter-school cricket exchanges and qualified for the Otago Regional final against Otago Boys’ High School which will decide Otago’s National representative.
Wheeler-Greenall has a top score of 94 not out against Waitaki and best bowling figures of 4/16 against Southland. He is a member of the New Zealand Under 19 wider training squad.
For the fifth time in nine years Sacred Heart College are the National Secondary Schools First XI football champions after defeating Auckland Grammar School 2-1 at Bluewater Stadium, Napier this afternoon.
The spectacle defied the wet and dreary conditions with Sacred Heart rallying from behind to prevail in a gripping extra time climax.
The winning goal, a penalty, was scored by Riwai Stanton with the last kick in the first-half of extra time.
Stanton latched onto a high ball, controlled on the chest, and was brought down in the box while attempting to shoot.
The spot kick was calmly executed, driven firmly into the bottom right corner of the net, despite a correct prediction of its direction by the Grammar keeper.
Grammar will be haunted by a missed penalty of their own. Shortly after halftime, and while leading 1-0, Josh Stephan was fouled when a Sacred played jumped onto his back. Stephan shot with conviction, but would be denied by Declan Viljoen.
Both sides created chances from the outset. Brooklyn Baker fired inches wide for Sacred Heart and Thomas Drillen forced the best out of Viljoen with a robust header.
It would take something special to prize open the Sacred Heart defense. Harrison Freeman had the ball stripped from his grasp by Alex Smith who maneuvered into space and unleashed a 25-meter curling shot into the top right corner; Grammar led 1-0 at the main interval.
Samuel Pointon leveled proceedings in the 60th minute when his low, swirling, strike proved elusive.
Campbell Strong lived up to his name for Sacred, tightly marking the dangerous Drillen.
Grammar was able to hold the ball for long periods, but never looked that likely to equalize. Eshaan Arora was perhaps their best; relentless in the challenge and always looking to push forward.
In the playoff for third, St Peter’s College ensured it would be an all Auckland top three as they subdued King’s High School, Dunedin 2-0. Tauranga Boys' College defeated Mount Albert Grammar School 3-1 in the 5th v 6th match.
The golden boot award, for leading scorer in the tourney, was won by Raphael Le’ai from Scots College, Wellington. Le’a netted nine goals in seven games. Scots finished in ninth place.
It was an East Auckland Marist schools one-two, with Baradene College winning the Premier Girls Lotto tournament in Christchurch.
Baradene beat Hamilton's Hillcrest High School 3-0 in the final.
Epsom Girls' Grammar School beat Mount Albert Grammar School 1-0 in the 3rd v 4th match and Westlake Girls' High School defeated Napier Girls' High School 2-1 in the 5th v 6th fixture.
Auckland Grammar School will seek their 11th National football title, but first since 2007, after winning through to the Lotto Premiership NZSS Football final against reigning champions Sacred Heart College in Napier this afternoon.
Grammar showed little mercy in suppressing King’s High School, Dunedin, 2-0.
The southerners had been on a giant killing run, eliminating Auckland Premier League champions Saint Kentigern College 2-1 in the Round of 16 and perennial powerhouse Mount Albert Grammar School 2-0 in the quarter finals.
However Grammar, who thrashed Nelson College 4-0 in their quarter-final, were prepared for King’s threats.
Thomas Drillen opened the scoring midway through the first-half when a corner rebounded out of the box and Drillen collected the spillage, beat his opposite defender and slipped the ball past the keeper.
Jan Ackerman and Beckham Greenall have been exceptional for King’s all week. Both tried gallantly, but forlornly, to breakdown Grammar’s watertight defence.
The second and telling goal was scored by Micaiah Papa. From a set-piece the ball emerged on the left side and Papa used his pace to leave the keeper in a hopeless spot.
Sacred Heart accounted for St Peter’s College, Auckland by the same score. Brooklyn Baker broke the deadlock with a header in the first-half, exposing the St Peter’s goalie drifting off his line.
Sacred Heart was content to allow St Peter’s to come at them. St Peter’s kept possession for long periods, and occasionally threatened, but Sacred goalie Declan Vilijoen was steadfast.
Twenty minutes after the interval Riwai Stanton scored the winning goal when he drilled the ball hard into the right corner of the net.
It’s been a week of upsets with 2017 champions Hamilton Boys’ High School and Christchurch Premiership winners St Thomas of Canterbury College both failing to get out of their groups.
Hamilton was beaten 1-0 by Grammar on the first day while St Thomas stumbled against both Rutherford High School (Auckland) and Rathkeale College (Wairarapa) 1-0.
Sacred Heart twice came from behind to defeat Tauranga Boys’ College 3-2 in the quarter final. Earlier in the week Tauranga beat St Paul’s Collegiate by the extraordinary margin of 9-0.
The final kicks off at 1:30pm on Friday at Bluewater Stadium. The teams have met twice in the Auckland League this season with Grammar winning the first encounter 1-0 and Sacred Heart bouncing back with a 3-2 triumph in the latter fixture.
Sacred Heart have won four National titles since 2011.
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