Emblen to coach Oly-Whites on to Olympics

Last updated 14:10 15/03/2012

Relevant offers


Fifa U-20 World Cup to provide long lasting benefits to football in New Zealand Raheem Sterling will see out Liverpool contract - Brendan Rodgers Playoffs to procede at Wembley as old WWII bomb defused Luis Figo joins Michael van Praag in withdrawing from Fifa presidential election Ghent end 115-year wait for Belgian league title Leon Birnie to lead women's Under-20s football side Uruguay train at Hibiscus Coast ahead of Under-20 Fifa World Cup Offensive tweet targets Manchester United player James Wilson's girlfriend Agent: Raheem Sterling won't sign Liverpool deal - not for any money Sepp Blatter's Fifa president re-election a fait accompli

New Zealand under-23 men's football coach Neil Emblen was never concerned about what role he might play in the leadup to the London Olympics but says it is nice to know the top job's his till the end of the campaign.

When Emblen was appointed to the role of head coach last October, New Zealand Football chief executive Grant McKavanagh told Fairfax Media that, should New Zealand qualify, All Whites and Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert could well come in as coach after the Oceania qualifying campaign, which starts in Taupo tomorrow.

''Just depending upon what Ricki's availability is around that time, he'll be working with the team the whole way through so it makes more sense that perhaps he will come back in over the top of the Olympic team at that stage,'' McKavanagh said at the time.

''We want Neil to stand on his own two feet right now but there's a high likelihood that Ricki will have a pretty decent level of involvement, due to the fact [the All Whites and Oly Whites] basically merges into one programme.''

However, Herbert said in Australia yesterday that he would ''definitely not'' be taking over as coach of the team, should the Oly Whites qualify, rather that he would be a technical director and would work alongside Emblen, the Waitakere United coach.

''All I'm doing is concentrating on us qualifying,'' Emblen told LiveSport today as he fine-tunes his charges ahead of tomorrow's group phase opener against Frank Farina's Papua New Guinea at Owen Delany Park.

''It's nice to know the role would be taken on if we qualify, but first things first. All I want to focus on at the moment is making sure we get there.

''It (coaching situation) wasn't an issue for me, to be honest, I would love to go to the Olympic Games in any capacity. The job at hand has always been my primary focus.''

Emblen said the New Zealanders were amped for the nine-day, seven-team tournament, which will see the winner earn one of 16 spots available for the Olympic tournament in late-July, early-August in Britain.

The Kiwis are raging hot favourites to progress and despite missing several of their bigger-named under-23 players, should ease through.

They play PNG, coached by former Socceroos player and mentor Farina, tomorrow and Tonga on Tuesday in group play, with the semifinals and final next Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

''I had some individual meetings with them all yesterday and I think we all believe we've picked a good squad,'' Emblen said.

''There's a lot of confidence but obviously a lot of nervous energy, too, because we all want to do well.''

Ad Feedback

It had been difficult to get information on PNG ahead of tomorrow's match, but he expected any team coached by Farina to be highly organised.

He wants to keep the ball on the deck as much as possible, but they'll do whatever is required to win.

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Burnley retain their EPL status?

Yes, they've found a winning formula

Maybe, but there’s a long way to go

No. They lack quality in certain areas

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content