Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa > Chairman thanks country for support

Chairman thanks country for support

The team’s run came to an end on Friday morning (NZ time) with a scoreless draw against Paraguay but New Zealand can leave South Africa with their heads held high after winning their first points at a FIFA World Cup and being undefeated in all three Group F games.
Van Hattum says the support for the side and the upsurge of interest in the game was an important contributor to the All Whites’ eyebrow-raising success.
“It’s been humbling and tremendously uplifting for the team to receive so much support from New Zealand while we’ve been in South Africa,” he says.
“To know that our country has been so absorbed by football and is right behind us has made a huge contribution.
“We have all appreciated hearing and seeing messages from people, including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, all those people taking part in white-outs, those cheering around television sets in the middle of the night, and over 60,000 fans following the team on Facebook.
“We were also delighted Prime Minister John Key could join the team in South Africa and experience first-hand the excitement of the 1-1 draw with Italy.
“This is a wonderful example of the way New Zealanders get in behind their own and how the fighting Kiwi spirit rises to the occasion.”
Van Hattum says the success of the All Whites in South Africa comes at a time when New Zealand Football is extremely well placed to capitalise on the surge in support for the game.
“Over the last three years New Zealand Football has worked very hard to recover from a position of near-insolvency and put in place a sustainable budget and a great plan for the future,” he says.
“That plan has been well prepared and is being rolled out. For example, we are putting aside prize money from the World Cup in a foundation that will grow the game at grassroots level and into a fund to expand our international programme at senior and age-group level, both for men and women. We will be well prepared for the next World Cups.
“We have worked closely over the last three years with the federations which manage our football regions to develop a strategic plan for the whole country and are gratified by the way that partnership is working. As part of that a plan is being introduced which will aim to ensure that right across the country, at whatever level people are playing, coaching or refereeing, they will enjoy a quality of experience which makes the game more and more attractive.”
Van Hattum also acknowledged the support of funders, such as SPARC and Kiwibank, who assisted the recovery of New Zealand Football three years ago.
“It is exciting to be working closely with SPARC now on a different phase – the further growth and development of the game,” he says.
Story courtesy of NZF Media.
For the latest news on NZ Football visit www.nzfootball.co.nz

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