Defender Luka Coveny: ‘We’re confident we can come out on top’

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New Zealand go into Wednesday night’s crucial OFC U-17 Championship semi-final against Fiji with confidence, says defender Luka Coveny.

“We’ve been analysing them,” Coveny told OFC Media ahead of the match.

“We don’t want to say too much but we definitely know how they’ll play and we know how we want to play, and we’re confident we can come out on top.”

Main photo: New Zealand defender Luka Coveny. Credit: Pita Simpson / Phototek.

The winner of the match gains automatic qualification to November’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru, along with either Tahiti or New Caledonia who meet in the other semi-final in Suva.

Coveny said the long-term goal of the New Zealand squad was for the players to become All Whites, but the short-term goal was to get to Peru.

“We’re in great spirits. We’re looking forward to the game.”

New Zealand will have a full squad available other than Manchester City defender and captain Marley Leuluai who picked up an injury and missed Sunday’s last-gasp quarter-final win against Vanuatu.

Coveny said the nature of that win was “nerve-wracking” but the players knew they had created plenty of chances in the game and could win it, even in the 91st minute.

READ MORE: Late penalty gets New Zealand into semi-finals at OFC U-17 Championship >>>>

READ MORE: Coach Martin Bullock: ‘I wasn’t panicking because I trust the players’ >>>>

Coveny interview

How to watch the live stream of the semi-final



Games to be played on Wednesday January 25, 2023

New Caledonia v Tahiti
HFC Bank Stadium, Suva (5pm, NZT)

New Zealand v Fiji
HFC Bank Stadium, Suva (8pm, NZT)

Play-off for third

Game to be played on Saturday January 28, 2023

HFC Bank Stadium, Suva (5pm, NZT)


Game to be played on Saturday January 28, 2023

HFC Bank Stadium, Suva (5pm, NZT)

READ MORE: Here’s all our coverage of the OFC U-17 Championship >>>>

Coveny (left) celebrates the winning goal against Vanuatu with team mates. Photo: Kirk Corrie /

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