PREVIEW: Updated squads and what to look for as All Whites face DR Congo

posted in: All Whites, News

Saturday’s friendly international between New Zealand and DR Congo must surely be a contender for some sort of record as it features players from clubs in 21 countries.

The DR Congo squad has players drawn from clubs in 15 countries, while New Zealand’s All Whites are travelling from clubs in 11 countries.

Saturday’s game in Murcia, Spain, will be played in truly neutral territory as none of the players turn out for Spanish clubs.

Of both squads, only one player — Congo goalkeeper Baggio Siadi Ngusia — plays for a club based in his home country.

New Zealand head coach Darren Bazeley did not draw on players from the A-League, including the Wellington Phoenix, because they are due to begin their season later in October.

Where they play club football

New Zealand’s squad members play club football in the following countries: England (8), Denmark (3), Italy (2), United States (2), Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Scotland, Serbia and Turkey.

Congo’s players are from: France (6), Turkey (3), Belgium (2), England (2), Italy (2), Switzerland (2), Congo, Egypt, Germany, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Tanzania and United Arab Emirates.

Sarpreet Singh … back with the national squad. Photo credit: NZ Football.

Players to watch

Playmaker Sarpreet Singh makes a return to the national squad after a lengthy rehabilitation from injury, and having moved clubs, joining German side FC Hansa Rostock.

Still only 24, the Auckland-born Singh has not played for the All Whites for almost two years, as he has worked to recover from a groin injury.

New Zealand have included Reading defender Tyler Bindon (18) for the first time, persuading him to align with the country of his birth, rather than the United States for whom he’s played age-group football.

His US-born mother is Jenny Bindon, a 77-cap Football Fern, and his father, Grant, captained New Zealand at volleyball.

Bindon’s on a roll, having scored his first-ever goal as a professional in Reading’s last match in England’s League One.

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Congo’s key player will be striker Cedric Bakambu (32) who has scored 15 goals in his 43 international appearances. He plays for Galatasaray in Turkey.

Captain Chancel Mbemba, who plays for French club Marseille, will anchor the defence in what’s likely to be his 71st international cap, only 10 short of his country’s all-time record holder Issama Mpeko.

Who won’t be on the pitch

New Zealand have lost a couple of players in the lead-up to the game.

Wing-back James McGarry was recalled to the squad but suffered a hamstring injury playing for his Aberdeen club.

Midfielder Matt Dibley-Dias (19) was named in the squad for the first time but the Fulham youngster left the All Whites training camp with a hamstring injury, returning to London for treatment.

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Congo manager Sebastien Desabre will be without three players contracted to English Premier League clubs.

Striker Yoane Wissa (Brentford) and midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) were not called up, while midfielder Samuel Bastien (Burnley) has gone on loan to Belgian club Kasimpasa.

How they rank

Going into the game, New Zealand rate 104th in the FIFA men’s world rankings.

DR Congo rank 64th.

How to watch

The match will be live-streamed free by FIFA+ with coverage starting at 4.50am (NZT).


New Zealand

Max Crocombe (2 caps) Burton Albion FC, England
Michael Woud (4 caps) Ventforet Kofu, Japan
Nik Tzanev (1 cap) AFC Wimbledon, England
Henry Gray* (0 caps), Ipswich Town, England

Bill Tuiloma (37 caps) Charlotte FC, United States
Dalton Wilkins (2 caps) Kolding, Denmark
Liberato Cacace (15 caps) Empoli FC, Italy
Michael Boxall (43 caps) Minnesota United, United States
Nando Pijnaker (12 caps) Sligo Rovers, Ireland
Niko Kirwan (8 caps) Calcio Padova, Italy
Tommy Smith (50 caps) MK Dons, England
Tyler Bindon* (0 caps) Reading FC, England

Callum McCowatt (12 caps) Silkeborg IF, Denmark
Marko Stamenic (14 caps) FK Crvena zvezda / Red Star Belgrade, Serbia
Matthew Garbett (15 caps) NAC Breda, Netherlands
Sarpreet Singh (9 caps) FC Hansa Rostock, Germany

Alex Greive (10 caps) St Mirren FC, Scotland
Ben Waine (8 caps) Plymouth Argyle, England
Chris Wood (70 caps) Nottingham Forest, England
Eli Just (16 caps) AC Horsens, Denmark
Joe Champness (6 caps) Adanaspor, Turkey
Max Mata (4 caps) Shrewsbury Town, England

*Debut senior international call-up

DR Congo

Lionel Mpasi (5 caps) Rodez, France
Baggio Siadi Ngusia (4 caps) TP Mazembe, DR Congo
Dimitry Bertaud* (0 caps) Montpellier, France

Chancel Mbemba (70 caps) Marseille, France
Arthur Masuaku (17 caps). Besiktas, Turkey
Henoc Inonga Baka (6 caps) Simba, Tanzania
Gédéon Kalulu (4 caps) Lorient, France
Dylan Batubinsika (3 caps) Saint-Étienne, France
Rocky Bushiri (1 caps) Hibernian, Scotland
Joris Kavembe (1 caps) Genk, Belgium
Brian Bayeye* (0 caps) Ascoli, Italy

Samuel Moutoussamy (21 caps) Nantes, France
Edo Kayembe (16 caps) Watford, England
Théo Bongonda (7 caps) Spartak Moscow, Russia
Aaron Tshibola (5 caps) Hatta, United Arab Emirates
William Balikwisha (2 caps) Standard Liège, Belgium
Charles Pickel (2 caps) Cremonese, Italy
Grady Diangana* (0 caps) West Bromwich Albion, England
Jonathan Okita (1 caps) Zürich, Switzerland

Cédric Bakambu (43 caps) Galatasaray, Turkey
Meschak Elia (30 caps) Young Boys, Switzerland
Ben Malango (21 caps) Qatar SC, Qatar
Jackson Muleka (12 caps) Besiktas, Turkey
Fiston Kalala Mayele (6 caps) Pyramids, Egypt
Silas Katompa Mvumpa (3 caps) VIB Stuttgart, Germany
Simon Banza* (0 caps) Braga, Portugal

*Debut senior international call-up


Game to be played on Saturday October 14, 2023 (NZT)

New Zealand v DR Congo
Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain, 5am (NZT)

Game to be played on Wednesday October 18, 2023 (NZT)

New Zealand v Australia
Gtech Community Stadium, London, 7.45am (NZT)

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