AUCKLAND – All Whites defender Ivan Vicelich has committed himself to the rest of New Zealand’s 2010 World Cup campaign, ending speculation about his international future.
At the request from coach Ricki Herbert, Vicelich came out of international retirement earlier this year to help marshal the All Whites defence at the FIFA Confederations Cup, a tournament where they earned their first ever point at a FIFA event.
Back at home, and with time to reflect on his All Whites involvement, the 69 cap defender and says he wants to play his part in helping the team through a monumental two legged World Cup playoff against Saudi Arabia or Bahrain later this year.
“When Ricki asked me come back for the Confederations Cup, the World Cup playoff and finals were on the table as well but I didn’t want cloud the focus for that first campaign either for myself or the team,” Vicelich said.
“It felt great to be involved in that team environment again but I still wanted to be able to take a step back after Africa and assess things, so that if I was on board it was absolutely 100 per cent."
Ultimately, Vicelich says, the decision to re-join the World Cup campaign after featuring in the first three qualifiers in 2007 was an easy one to make.
“We’re potentially just two games away from the World Cup. It’s such a massive year for the All Whites and a huge opportunity for the game. It’s something every player would want to be a part of.”
The All Whites face the winner of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia away on October 10 and in Wellington on November 14, with a New Zealand Football also working on a trip to the Middle East for the September international window.
Herbert welcomed the news that he would again be able to draw on the veteran defender for those games.
“Someone of Ivan’s experience and history in the game is invaluable and having him on board with two crucial games on the horizon is fantastic,” Herbert said.
Meanwhile Herbert also confirmed he has recently spoken to former Celtic and now Central Coast Mariners midfielder Michael McGlinchey and to Plymouth Argyle striker Rory Fallon about pulling on New Zealand colours.
In June, FIFA relaxed rules that had previously made the pair ineligible for the All Whites because they represented Scotland and England respectively at age-group level.
“I’ve talked to both Michael and Rory and they’ve both extremely interested in the campaign,” Herbert said “and so we’ll be looking to move those discussions forward in the next couple of weeks.”
Story courtesy of NZF Media
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