Five players get late call-up to New Zealand team for OFC Olympic qualifiers

posted in: News, OFC news, Olympic Games

Five more players have been added to the New Zealand squad for this month’s OFC Men’s Olympic qualifying tournament to be held in Auckland.

All Whites and men’s U-23 head coach Darren Bazeley has drafted in the five players as cover for squad members required by the Wellington Phoenix to travel Melbourne on Sunday August 27 for an Australia Cup tie.

Darren Bazeley.

Bazeley said: “One of the unique things about this tournament is that we are able to change the squad from game to game, meaning that there is a lot of flexibility with how we can assemble the team.

“While it is disappointing not to be able to call on five strong players who have been held back by Wellington Phoenix, I have every confidence in the squad we have assembled.”

Main photo: Wellington Olympic’s Theo Ettema (right) playing for New Zealand at last September’s OFC U-19 Championship in Tahiti. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Called into the squad are Aiden Carey (Auckland City), Adama Coulibaly (Western Springs), Theo Ettema (Wellington Olympic), Joe Knowles (Eastern Suburbs) and Matthew Sheridan (Wellington Phoenix).

Remaining with Wellington Phoenix for the Australia Cup match against Melbourne City are Isaac Hughes, Lukas Kelly-Heald, Alex Paulsen, Finn Surman and Oskar van Hattum.

READ MORE: Date set for Wellington Phoenix Round of 16 showdown with Melbourne City >>>>

Newcastle Jets’ Lachlan Bayliss has also had to withdraw from the squad after suffering an injury.

New Zealand squad

The updated squad is:

Riley Bidois (Dandenong City, Australia)
Oscar Browne (Western Springs, New Zealand)
Aiden Carey (Auckland City, New Zealand)
Adama Coulibaly (Western Springs, New Zealand)
Willem Ebbinge (Harvard University, United States)
Matthew Ellis (Western Springs, New Zealand)
Theo Ettema (Wellington Olympic, New Zealand)
Liam Gillion (Auckland City, New Zealand)
Isaac Hughes* (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Alby Kelly-Heald (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Lukas Kelly-Heald* (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Joe Knowles (Eastern Suburbs, New Zealand)
Joe Lee (Auckland City, New Zealand)
Nathan Lobo (Auckland City, New Zealand)

Dan McKay (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Scott Morris (Christchurch United, New Zealand)
George Ott (Avondale FC, Australia)
Alex Paulsen* (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Aaryan Raj (Eastern Suburbs, New Zealand)
Jesse Randall (Charleston Battery, United States)
Matthew Sheridan (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Campbell Strong (Eastern Suburbs, New Zealand)
Finn Surman* (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Luis Toomey (Eastern Suburbs, New Zealand)
Oskar van Hattum* (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Ryan Verney (Eastern Suburbs, New Zealand)
Zac Zoricich (Central Coast Mariners, Australia)
*Joining on August 28.

Team staff for the tournament are:

Head coach: Darren Bazeley
Assistant coach: Martin Bullock
Assistant coach: Chris Greenacre
Goalkeeping coach: Danny Knight
Analyst: Hyun Roh
Strength and conditioning: Sunz Singh
Head physio: Roland Jeffery
Team manager: Wade Molony
Equipment manager: Zach Haydon

Auckland City’s Aidan Carey (centre) … called into the OlyWhites squad. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

OFC Olympic qualifying tournament

The OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier 2023 will be played in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland from August 27 – September 9, 2023 with matches at Go Media Stadium Mt. Smart, The Trusts Arena and North Harbour Stadium.

Group A

  • Fiji
  • Papua New Guinea
  • New Zealand

Group B

  • Tonga
  • Samoa
  • Vanuatu
  • Solomon Islands

Tournament format

Group fixtures will be staged at Mt Smart’s Go Media Stadium and Henderson’s Trusts Arena, kicking off at 12pm and 3pm (NZT).

The two group winners and runners-up will meet in semi-finals, kicking off at 3pm and 7pm (NZT).

The final will be played at North Harbour Stadium, Albany.


Game to be played on Sunday August 27, 2023

New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
Go Media Stadium, Mt Smart, 3pm

Game to be played on Wednesday August 30, 2023

New Zealand v Fiji
Go Media Stadium, Mt Smart, 3pm

Go Media Stadium, Mt Smart.
Trusts Arena, Henderson.
North Harbour Stadium, Albany.

Tournament schedule

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