LAUTOKA – The New Zealand Olympic squad has only been together for 12 days in preparation for the OFC Olympic Football Tournament in Fiji but are already “chomping at the bit” to get started according to Captain Aaron Scott.
“We’re very excited to get out there and play and everyone’s really looking forward to our first real competitive game together,” Scott said
Scott, who is likely to play a right back role for the Oly-whites said he was impressed with the playing surface at Churchill Park in Lautoka where his side had just completed their final training session before the first game.
A large boisterous crowd is expected in Lautoka tomorrow for the 2pm kick off, which will test the New Zealand sides conditioning in the heat of the day.
Coach Stu Jacobs said his side are ready to go toe- to toe with Fiji in a physical encounter if that’s the way the fixture unfolds against a physical Fijian side.
“I think it’s a good game for us first up. You could play the Cook Islands or PNG and get a sloppy 3-0 or 4-0 result. This way we know we have to start very, very well or we’ll get beat,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs is happy with the way the squad has gelled in their short time together and said the group has a good dynamic.
“We’ve got nine or ten from the under 20’s so they know how we work anyway which makes it a little bit easier.”
Scott and his Waikato FC team-mate Hone Fowler will flank US-based Michael Boxall and Wellington Phoenix utility Steven Old in a back four ahead of a midfield containing Cole Peverley, Shaun Van Rooyen, Dan Keat, and Craig Henderson. Phoenix youngster Greg Draper and All Whites rookie Daniel Ellensohn have been named to lead the Oly-Whites attack.
Match Day 1
OFC Men’s Olympic Football Tournament
Fiji vs New Zealand
Kick-off: 14H00hrs (Fiji Time)