NZ name Olympic squad

Coach Anthony Hudson revealed his 23-man squad for the Oceania qualifying event with a total of seven players selected having featured for the All Whites at senior level (Moses Dyer, Louis Fenton, Clayton Lewis, Storm Roux, Joel Stevens, Bill Tuiloma and Deklan Wynne) while 12 players have been included from the recent FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign on home soil.
Meanwhile, seven members of the squad – Tuiloma, Fenton, Roux, Luke Adams, Max Crocombe, Liam Higgins and Alec Solomons – were part of the New Zealand side at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey while five of the team – Lewis, Andrew Blake, Monty Patterson, Alex Rufer and Oliver Sail – were members of the 2013 New Zealand squad at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Adams, Kip Colvey, Harshae Raniga and Bill Tuiloma were also part of the 2011 Men’s U-17 side at the 2011 U-17 World Cup tournament in Mexico.
At 17, Logan Rogerson is the youngest player in the squad with the teenager also currently preparing for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile in October.
The New Zealand side will contest Group B of the tournament along with hosts Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.
Hudson says the squad mix reflects his stated aim of using the Men’s U-23 as a proving ground for the All Whites’ bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“I’m excited to be working with the U-23s and the reason for that is I’ve had 10 days on the training pitch with a group of players – a core of those could quite well be in the All Whites going to Russia,” Hudson said.
“It buys me more time on the pitch and we’ll go into our September window with the first team in a really strong position having had a lot more time with the core of our group.“
In the build up to their first game against the Solomon Islands on July 3 at Bisini Field in Port Moresby, Hudson says there is good momentum in the group after the historic FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign just two weeks ago.
“We’ve got a good core of U-20s who are coming off the back of the World Cup competition so I’m really pleased with the mix we have. It’s been good for me to have seen players and work with players that otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to. Overall they’ve trained very well and it’s been very positive.”
Departing on Monday, Hudson says the team is well aware of the threat posed by their opponents and believes concentrating on their own approach will net the coveted spot at the Rio Olympics.
“We’ve done a lot of homework and tried to see as many games as possible.
“We have spoken to a lot of people who have experienced the islands and we know it’s not going to be easy. We know there are many challenges however we’re firmly focussed on making sure we get our mentality right, the preparations right and make sure we get our own house in order.
“I think if we do that we’ll be in the best position possible to qualify.”
All members of the Pacific Games team are under 23 years of age while a maximum of three overage players can be used at the Olympic Games tournament in Rio.
New Zealand Men’s U-23 squad – Pacific Games 2015
Bisini Field, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
July 3-12
Goalkeepers
Max Crocombe – Oxford United FC/ENG
Oliver Sail – Wellington Phoenix/NZL
Nik Tzanev – Brentford FC/ENG
Defenders
Luke Adams – South Melbourne FC/AUS
Sam Brotherton – Wanderers SC/NZL
Kip Colvey – California Polytechnic State/USA
Liam Higgins – WaiBOP United/NZL
Harshae Raniga – Waitakere United/NZL
Storm Roux – Central Coast Mariners/NZL
Alec Solomons – Waitakere United/NZL
Deklan Wynne – Wanderers SC/NZL
Midfielders
Andrew Blake – Wellington Phoenix/NZL
Sam Burfoot – Auckland City FC/NZL
Moses Dyer – Wanderers SC/NZL
Louis Fenton – Wellington Phoenix/NZL
Clayton Lewis – Wanderers SC/NZL
Luka Prelevic – Melbourne City FC/AUS
Bill Tuiloma – Olympique Marseille/FRA
Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi – Wanderers SC/NZL
Forwards
Monty Patterson – Ipswich Town FC/ENG
Logan Rogerson – Wellington Phoenix/NZL
Alex Rufer – Wellington Phoenix/NZL
Joel Stevens – Wellington Phoenix/NZL
Coach: Anthony Hudson
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football. For more on New Zealand football visit www.nzfootball.co.nz


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