When the Whites and Curaçao take to the pitch this weekend at Bahrain’s Al Muharraq Stadium, it will be the meeting of two of the most selective teams in international football.
Danny Hay relied on players from 16 different leagues to name his first All Whites team in almost 700 days, from Chris Wood in the Premier League to Dalton Wilkins in the Danish Third Division.
For Curaçao coach Patrick Kluivert, Champions League winner when he played for Ajax, as well as a 79-game Dutch international who won the Golden Boot at Euro 2000, only a few months passed between matches.
New Zealand football
All Whites coach Danny Hay is delighted that the team will be playing soon after 700 days of waiting for the game.
But its roster of 21 is more selective, with players from 17 different leagues, including the top four levels of the Dutch football pyramid, as well as a separate Dutch Under-21 league.
* Emerging right-back has the chance to put All Whites’ claims in a sticky situation
* Football coach Graham Arnold is excited about the versatility of Gianni Stensis
* Gianni Stensis “to go from New Zealand to Australia” is a decision he made “from the heart”
* New Zealand Olympic football player Gianni Stensis selected the Australian national team as the White team was called
Curacao, pronounced with a soft C, is a Caribbean country 65 kilometers off the coast of Venezuela and a former Dutch colony. It consists of two islands with a total area less than half the size of Auckland and is home to around 160,000 people.
In football, his biggest achievement came in 2017, when the men’s national team won the Caribbean Cup. In June, they entered the goal of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. They were also due to participate in the Gold Cup in July, but the player’s positive Covid-19 test on the eve of the tournament forced them to withdraw.
Their biggest stars are a trio of midfielders: brothers Bacona, Juninho and Leandro, who play for Rangers in the Scottish Premier League and Cardiff City in the English Premier League, and Fornon Anita, who plays for RKC Walwick in the Eredivisie. All three have played in the Premier League in the past, with Anita having played over 100 games for Newcastle United from 2012 to 2017.
Wellington Phoenix fans will meet midfielder Rolly Bonifacia, who played for the A-League from 2014 to 2017 and made 80 appearances before joining the Western Sydney Wanderers in Australia. He missed a spot on the ill-fated Gold Cup squad, but is back in the lineup ahead of a possible clash with former teammates Michael Boxall and Sarpreet Singh.
Curacao has a total of 10 players in the Premier League, while the White team has nine players. Together, the two teams have enjoyed high-level competitions in 15 countries, including England, Portugal, the Netherlands and Scotland.
With the 23 other players – 11 in Curacao, 12 in All Whites – it gets interesting.
The only club providing the most players for this game is Danish second division FC Helsingør, who are aiming for promotion to SuperLiga for their third full season after coming under American control. All white forwards Elijah Just and Callum Makwat currently play there, as well as Nando Bejnaker, a graduate of Olé Football Academy, on loan from Portuguese second division club Rio Avenue.
Among the most interesting defenders of the Curaçao squad are defenders Ayrton State of the Kosaken Boys of the Dutch third division, Swint Alberto of Panduri in the Romanian third division, Shannon Carmelia of USV Hercules in the Dutch fourth division and the goalkeeper Jan Marc. Antsijn of Atlantic City in the US Fourth Division.
The All Whites have three players from the third level and one from the fourth level, although that’s nothing, as not all of the lower levels are made of the same fabric. There is more depth in England, where goalkeeper Nick Tzanev plays in Wimbledon’s third division in the first division, center-back Tommy Smith plays for Colchester United in the second division and in Italy, where right-back Nico Kirwan plays for Padua. Third-division Serie C, from there for example to Denmark, where Wilkins plays for third-tier club Kolding IF.
Top-to-bottom calls from the pyramid and the football world are a reality in countries like New Zealand and Curacao, which do not have their own professional leagues and the end result is expected to be a competitive match on Sunday. [kickoff 5am NZ time].
Ranked 79th in the world by FIFA, 42 places ahead of New Zealand, Curacao has benefited from recent competitive events, although several whites were part of the Olewits squad which lost to Japan on penalties in the quarterfinals. final. at the Tokyo Olympics in July.
For Sunday’s game, Curacao will meet Bahrain on Thursday [kickoff 5am NZ time]. Then the white team closed the October window playing against Bahrain next Wednesday [kickoff 5am NZ time].
All Whites – October International Window
Goalkeepers (3): Stefan Marinovic (Hapoel Nove Hajalil / International Defense Club, 25 caps / 0 goal), Nick Tzanev (Asia Wimbledon / England, 1/0), Michael Wood (Almeri City / Eredivisie, 2/0).
Defenders (9): Michael Boxall (Minnesota United / VS; 33/0), Nico Boxall (SJK / FIN; 3/0), Liberato Cacace (Sint-Truiden / BEL; 3/0), Kelvin Kalua (offline; 0/0)) , Nico Kirwan (Padova / ITA; 0/0), Nando Bijnaker (FC Helsingør / DEN; 1/0), Tommy Smith (Colchester United / ENG; 38/2), Bill Tuiloma (Portland Timbers / VS; 26/0 ), Dalton Wilkins (Kolding IF / DEN; 0/0)
Middle (4): Joe Bell (Viking / NOR; 2/0), Matt Garbett (Turin / ITA; 0/0), Sarpreet Singh (Jahn Regensburg / GER; 6/1), Marko Stamenic (HB Køge / DEN; 0/0)
Forwards (5): Joey Champness (Giresunspor / TUR; 0/0), Andre de Jong (AmaZulu / RSA; 4/1), Elijah Just (FC Helsingør / DEN; 2/0), Callum McCowatt (FC Helsingør / DEN; 1/1) Chris Wood (Burnley / Eng; 57/24)
Matches (New Zealand time)
Sunday October 10, 5 a.m .: on Curacao
Wednesday October 13, 5 a.m .: in Bahrain
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