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Opportunities for young seen as key to football’s future in NZ

Dec 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

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KICKING EVEN: Integration Works and The Titans fight out a 3-3 draw Wellington social football.

FOOTBALL talent goes unnoticed in New Zealand, according to social players surveyed by in Wellington this week.

NewsWire asked 17 football players whether they thought New Zealand Football was doing a good job, given its recent exit from World Cup qualifying.

Almost 60% (10) of those surveyed said New Zealand Football could do better and about 40% said they were doing a good job.

About half of those surveyed suggested New Zealand football could improve by providing more opportunities for young players.

Twilight football player Chris Williams said New Zealand should be focussing on them.

“We can lose a lot of kids the later it gets in high school, life gets busy,” he said.

Another player Doyle D’mello said there was a lot of young football talent around but it goes unnoticed.

“There’s so many more [players] who deserve to come through,” he said.

Other improvements included better management, more competition and increasing the skills of New Zealand football players.

Those who were surveyed were also asked whether the size of New Zealand was a disadvantage, and almost 90% (15) said it was not.

Coach Tin Trang said New Zealand football doesn’t have the amount of sponsors that rugby does.

“Football has big brands but not smaller ones,” he said.

“We are probably just more influenced by rugby.”

The players were competing in the first One Night Stand tournament at Te Whaea Park in Newtown on Tuesday.

headshotThe event was organised by SportZone, whose owner Tony Morrison, right, said the success of New Zealand football comes down to the players on the field.

When Mr Morrison heard about Wellington Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan and his $5m offer to fix New Zealand football, he had a better idea of how the money could be spent.

“NZ football would be able to waste $5m in two or three years and it’s not as if that’s a guess. Every four years they do exactly the same thing,” he said.

“When they went to Spain [FIFA World Cup 1982], they had to make the most of the money but nothing happened, then they went to South Africa [FIFA 2010] and now we’ve bombed out against Mexico.”

Mr Morrison is planning to build new facilities and run his own system of football coaching around the country.

He says his Football for All project will upskill football players on a variety of levels.

“Drop your kids off as soon as they can walk and pick them up in a wheel chair when they are nearly 300 years old,” he said.

Football player Nic Dellar said football is the only world sport New Zealand is not good at.

“I’m pretty sure there are more kids playing football than rugby,” he said.

The One Night Stand event was a part of the Twilight Summer Football series which kicked off on the September 29.

Twelve teams of six played at Tuesday’s tournament, participating in at least five 15 minute games from 6pm onwards.

KICKING EVEN: Integration Works and The Titans played at Tuesday’s game of Twilight football to win a 3-3 draw.

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is a student journalist studying at Whitireia in Welington. She is keen on keeping up with the news and writing stories that will have impact in the community. She is currently reporting stories within the Brooklyn area. She is interested in using multi-media in the news room.
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