New Zealand U-17 head coach Danny Hay has announced his 21-member squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. The „Young All Whites“ are set to face Mali, Paraguay and Turkey in Group B at the World Cup finals.
Hay has told his squad in their first selection for a FIFA World Cup that this is the start of their international careers and they need to earn the right to play for New Zealand.
“This group has done that and I have been impressed by the squad’s character both in our qualifiers and in our training camps as we build towards this tournament,” the former New Zealand international said.
“The message is clear to all of these young lads; playing for New Zealand is not a right, it is a privilege. It is something you have to earn and work hard for. The U-17s are the first cab off the rank in international football so this group of players is very excited about going to a World Cup and seeing what they can do. We have a very balanced squad. We have good players right across the park and more so than other age group teams we have some real quality going forward.”
New Zealand’s build-up for the tournament included a short training camp for fitness and conditioning testing in Auckland and a warm-up match against Auckland City FC which they won 4-1. The team will face England (September 28) and Brazil (October 1) in two important friendly matches to fine-tune for the finals.
Talking on the opponents in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, Hay said: „We know that Mali, like most African nations, will be very strong in the U-17 and U-20 national teams. We think they have a chance of winning the title so it will be great going up against one of the favourites. Paraguay lost only one game from 12 in qualifying for this event and Turkey were also very impressive in their qualifying only losing to England and Spain, the two top teams. It is going to be difficult but we are all really looking forward to the challenge.“
New Zealand will take on Turkey in their first group stage match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on October 6. The „Young All Whites“ will then face Paraguay at the some venue three days later, before they travel to New Delhi for their last group stage match against Mali (October 12).
NEW ZEALAND U-17 SQUAD
Jacob Clark, Zac Jones, Nicholas Milner
Liberato Cacace, Boyd Curry, Ben Deeley, Matthew Jones, Joshua Rogerson, Jordan Spain, Emlyn Wellsmore
Willem Ebbinge, Elijah Just, Oliver Duncan, Kieran Richards, Kingsley Sinclair, Oliver Whyte, Leon Van Den Hoven
Matthew Conroy, Charles Spragg, Matthew Palmer, Max Mata