Taupo confirmed as host

Next month's OFC Men's Olympic Qualifier will be staged in Taupo, New Zealand, it was confirmed today.

The tournament will take place at Owen Delany Park from 16-25 March with eight partipating nations including American Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Following the group stage, semi-finals and final, the eventual winner will go on to represent OFC at the Olympic Football Tournament in London from 26 July - 11 August.

OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas says he is pleased to see Taupo named as host following the approval of OFC's Executive Committee.

"I would like to thank OFC staff, New Zealand Football staff and the Taupo District Council for working closely during this planning stage," says Nicholas.

"The amount of local support coupled with the outstanding facilities at Owen Delany Park means that Taupo is an excellent choice to host this event."

NZF Chief Executive Grant McKavanagh says the decision is a step in the right direction.

“New Zealand Football has a plan to take big football games around the country and this is very much a part of that plan," said McKavanagh.

"Aucklanders get their chance with the All Whites test against Jamaica later this month and people in the central North Island now get to take a look at some of the next wave of talent at the Olympic qualifiers.”

Taupo District Council Chief Executive Rob Williams was delighted to see the region get the nod.

“This confirmation follows years of hard work and dedication from the grassroots footballing community in Taupo, well known for the huge tournaments they host, through to the Waikato Bay of Plenty Football federation and of course New Zealand Football who have all come together to stage this exciting feast of sport in the centre of the North Island,” said Williams.

Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper took the opportunity to thank the various stakeholders who have collaborated to make this happen.

“Thanks goes to OFC and FIFA officials right through to the guys that mow the parks,” he said. “This will be one event that will be a true inspiration to our district’s youngsters. I cannot wait for kick-off.”

“Taupo is well regarded for hosting international squads as they recently looked after Wales, Ireland and the ex-world champion South Africans during the rugby world cup and this will be another chance for the district and the North Island in particular to get in behind a major footballing occasion for New Zealand. With the success in the 2010 Football World Cup it will be great for our locals to witness the future of the beautiful game right here on our doorstep.”

Orginally the tournament had been scheduled to take place in Fiji but last month the OFC Executive Committee decided pursuant to article 55 of the OFC Statutes that the qualifying tournament will now be held in New Zealand.

OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier 2012
Date: 16-25 March 2012
Venue: Owen Delany Park, Taupo, New Zealand
Format: Round robin, semi-finals, finals
Participating teams: American Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu

Winner will represent OFC at the Olympic Men's Football Tournament in London from 26 July – 11 August 2012

Updated On Tuesday, February 07, 2012