The Whites will be back on the pitch next month for the first time in nearly 700 days, but they may have to start their journey to the 2022 World Cup without two of the country’s best players.
Football New Zealand announced on Saturday that the Curacao and Bahrain men’s national football team will play during the October indoor window, which begins two weeks later.
Coach Danny Hay will select a 21-man squad for the matches, which will take place in Bahrain’s capital Manama, but captain Winston Reed and midfielder Ryan Thomas have yet to be decided.
Oliwhite, midfielder Clayton Lewis talks about New Zealand’s Olympic campaign.
Reed appears to have resumed training after injuring his knee during the Tokyo Olympics in July. Hay has said he could make the trip from London, where he is still on the books for Premier League club West Ham United, although he cannot play as his leadership in Japan has been “invaluable”.
* All-White’s 2022 World Cup bid begins in Qatar in March, pending FIFA approval
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* New Zealand football may have to expel national team staff without reserving MIQ seats
* All Whites are determined to play this year as the World Cup qualifying campaign approaches
Thomas did not make the Olympic campaign after breaking his ankle in March while playing for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie, his third major injury in as many seasons. The 26-year-old had previously suggested in an interview with a local newspaper that he might have chosen to focus on his career at the club anyway, and Hay said he always had that in mind.
“I’ve talked to him a lot and right now Ryan is someone who just needs to focus on getting back into shape and health.
“He also has a young family and I think his goal right now is to try and focus on them and himself a little bit and put himself in a position where he can reach his own potential on the pitch. club.
“It’s something we only work with window to window. “
One player who will play after missing the Olympics is midfielder Sarpreet Singh, who has chosen to focus on setting up Bayern Munich on loan with Jan Regensburg in the German second division. He started a solid life at his new club, scoring two goals and providing three assists to help them sit at the top of the table after six games.
The All White’s match against Bahrain will be the first since their Intercontinental Playoff victory in 2009 to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. They have never played against Curaçao, a Caribbean country with just over 150,000 inhabitants, but they will give a good test, The former Dutch colony has many Dutch players in the Dutch league.
Their return to action comes after the OlyWhites made history by beating South Korea at the Tokyo Olympics in July and qualifying for the playoffs for the first time, losing to Japan, host country, in the quarter-finals on penalties. .
Several players from the Hay team will take part in this tournament, which was mostly made up of players aged 24 or under, with the first team meeting for the first time in nearly two years.
A total of eight, including veteran Reid and Premier League striker Chris Wood, had already made their debut for the Whites, with several Olympic teams set to line up this time around to receive their first call-up.
Hay will be reserved for players from Europe and the United States for the October matches, as hotel isolation requirements for those returning to Australia and New Zealand will exclude them from the competition.
The two friendlies will mark the start of what Hay, his coaching staff and the country’s players hope to last 13 months and culminate with his third appearance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November.
The All Whites’ journey to glorious competition is the same as in the last three editions of the World Cup, which ultimately required an Intercontinental Playoff victory, but the exact details of the qualifying journey have yet to be confirmed.
The Pacific Football Association announced this week that it plans to hold a qualifying tournament in Qatar in March, with the region’s first team qualifying for the intercontinental play-offs in June.
The October games will be the first for the All Whites since November 2019, when they lost to Ireland (3-1) and Lithuania (1-0) in the first two games against Hay.
The men’s national team have only played six times since losing the last World Cup qualifying play-off against Peru in November 2017, and other matches in March and June 2018.
All White Teams Matches – October International Window
Sunday, October 10, 5 a.m. New Zealand time: against Curacao; the two seas
Wednesday, October 13, 5:00 a.m. New Zealand time: against Bahrain; the two seas
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