Within minutes of his team winning the OFC U-17 Championship, New Zealand head coach Martin Bullock issued a firm warning to the players in his squad.
He said they would need to go back to their clubs, work hard and do everything possible to be ready for November’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.
Bullock told OFC Media:
“They need to keep working hard because if they want to go to the World Cup, they’ve got to be the best-performing players at that time.
“Being here right now doesn’t guarantee you a place at the World Cup.
“Lots will be there, but not all.”
In his sideline interview after New Zealand had beaten New Caledonia 1-0 in the tournament final, he said he was “really proud of the boys and the effort they have put in.”
Bullock believed that New Caledonia and New Zealand had shown they were the rightful finalists at the nine-nation tournament, and he was pleased New Zealand had won all five of its games in Fiji.
New Zealand’s Oceania title was its eighth in a row.
Meanwhile, New Zealand goalkeeper Matt Foord won the Player of the Match for his fine performance in a game that saw New Caledonia have 14 shots on target, compared to the Kiwis’ seven.
Foord said the tournament had been a great experience and the players had bonded well over the past three weeks.
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