June 27, 2021
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NZ confirms football squads for Olympics

New Zealand has finalised its men's and women's football teams for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan next month.

The Football Ferns will rely on a core of experience, as the quartet of Abby Erceg, Ria Percival, Anna Green and Ali Riley will be playing in their fourth Olympics.

Talents from the bronze medal winning U17s in 2018 is also starting to come through in the squad via striker Gabi Rennie (yet to be capped at senior level) and goalkeeper Anna Leat.

Meanwhile, led by Burnley FC striker Chris Wood and Minnesota United centre back Michael Boxall, back for their second Olympic Games, the men’s team features a host of exciting talent, such as Liberato Cacace, Ben Waine and Joe Bell.

New Zealand will attend as OFC’s representative after the men’s team breezed through the qualifying tournament in Fiji in 2019, while the Football Ferns earned their place after winning the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in 2018.

The men’s tournament will feature U-24 players with each country allowed up to three overage players – normally the event is for U-23s but the delay due to COVID-19 has caused the change.

The Football Ferns have been drawn in Group G alongside Sweden, USA and Australia. Their campaign gets underway against Australia on Wednesday, July 21.

The men are in Group B with South Korea, Honduras and Romania and New Zealand will meet Korea on Thursday, July 22 in their first fixture.

Football Ferns: CJ Bott, Katie Bowen, Claudia Bunge, Olivia Chance, Daisy Cleverley, Abby Erceg, Anna Green, Betsy Hassett, Anna Leat, Annalie Longo, Meikayla Moore, Erin Nayler, Ria Percival, Gabi Rennie, Ali Riley, Emma Rolston, Paige Satchell, Hannah Wilkinson

New Zealand men: Joe Bell, Michael Boxall, Liberato Cacace, Joey Champness, Callan Elliot, Dane Ingham, Elijah Just, Clayton Lewis, Callum McCowatt, Nando Pijnaker, Winston Reid or Tim Payne, Jamie Searle, Marko Stamenic, George Stanger, Gianni Stensness, Ben Waine, Christopher Wood, Michael Woud. Coach: Danny Hay

By Romeka Romena  

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