The 21-player New Zealand U17 football squad has been named for the upcoming FIFA U17 World Cup.
The squad is:
Leon Van Den Hoven
Head coach Danny Hay has been happy with his team’s build-up for the tournament which has included a short training camp for fitness and conditioning testing in Auckland and a warm-up match against Auckland City FC which they won 4-1.
New Zealand will open their tournament against Turkey on 6 October 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 6 and 28 October in six venues across India.
“We know that Mali, like most African nations, will be very strong in the U-17 and U-20 national teams,” said Hay.”We think they have a chance of winning the title so it will be great going up against one of the favourites. Paraguay lost only one game from 12 in qualifying for this event and Turkey were also very impressive in their qualifying only losing to England and Spain, the two top teams. It is going to be difficult but we are all really looking forward to the challenge.”
Hay is pleased with the fitness levels in this NZ U-17 squad and their attacking intent which they displayed on Tuesday night against National League opposition in the Navy Blues.
Three of the standout performers of the OFC U-17 Championship in Tahiti were Charles Spragg (Golden Boot), Zac Jones (Golden Glove) and exciting midfielder Elijah Just.
“Charles has really developed in recent time and had a fine qualifying tournament,” said Hay. “He will be in good competition for a starting place as we have good depth in our forwards with the likes of Max Mata and Matt Conroy. As a former central defender, Charles is the sort of player I used to hate marking. He has great work ethic and het goes all day and that is exactly what we want from him.
“Eli is an exciting young kid who has spent some time training with the All Whites squad recently. He is a product of Declan Edge’s Ole Football Academy and he has done a good job with him. He has a big future.
The New Zealand U-17s will look to replicate the feats of the NZ team at the tournament two years ago in Chile where they defeated Parauguay 2-1 in their final game to make the Round of 16. They lost in the playoff stages to Brazil (1-0) but showed huge promise on the world stage.
FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 Draw
Group A: India, USA, Colombia, Ghana
Group B: Paraguay, Mali, New Zealand, Turkey
Group C: Iran, Guinea, Germany, Costa Rica
Group D: Korea DPR, Niger, Brazil, Spain
Group E: Honduras, Japan, New Caledonia, France
Group F: Iraq, Mexico, Chile, England
New Zealand’s Group B games at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India
Friday 6 October, kick off 5:30pm local time (Saturday 7 October 1am NZT)
Dr DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai
Monday 9 October, kick off 8pm local time (Tuesday 10 October 3:30am NZT)
Dr DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai
Thursday 12 October, kick off 5pm local time (Friday 13 October 12:30am NZT)
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
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