New Zealand to defend title at January’s OFC U-17 Championship in Fiji

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New Zealand will face New Caledonia and American Samoa in their group games at January’s OFC U-17 Championship.

Ten teams will gather in Fiji for the tournament from which the two finalists will qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru next year.

The draw

OFC conducted the tournament draw on Friday October 28, and the following groups were drawn:

Group A: Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga.

Group B: New Zealand, New Caledonia, American Samoa.

Group C: Tahiti, Vanuatu, Cook Islands.

The winners and runners-up from each pool and the two highest-ranked third-placed teams will advance to the quarter-finals.

Defending champions New Zealand will play New Caledonia in the opening game of the tournament on January 11.

Main photo: New Zealand’s winning team from the 2017 OFC Championship held in Papeete, Tahiti.


The tournament will run from January 11-28, 2023.

Quarter-finals: January 21-22.

Semi-finals: January 25.

Final: January 28.

The final will be played at the 15,000 capacity HFC Stadium, Suva.


Games will be played at the Ba Academy in Ba, and at Suva’s HFC Bank Stadium.

About the championship

Next year’s tournament is the first for Oceania’s best U-16 or U-17 players since 2018 because of the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018, New Zealand won the OFC U-16 Championship, winning the final against Soloman Islands in a penalty shoot-out.

The scorers in the shoot-out included current All Whites Marko Stamenic and Matthew Garbett.

  • A decision by the OFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee in 2019 in relation to the OFC U-16 Championship 2018 meant the Solomon Islands were excluded from participating in January’s championship.

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