NZF confident they can qualify without Nelsen

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2013
Ryan Nelsen
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
END OF AN ERA: As he prepares to end his playing career and take over as Toronto FC head coach, Ryan Nelsen has likely played his last match for the All Whites.

Relevant offers

Football

Kosta Barbarouses thriving in return to All Whites environment after 'wake-up call' David Moyes quits Sunderland after relegation from English Premier League Western Springs continue unbeaten run in Northern Regional Football League Spanish capital parties through the night in honour of La Liga champions Real Madrid Fifa Under-20 World Cup: New Zealand disappoint in draw with Vietnam in opener Read Madrid secure first La Liga title in five years after beating Malaga Harry Kane wins English Premier League golden boot for second successive year Juventus clinch sixth successive Serie A title Manchester City, Liverpool deny Arsenal Champions League slot on final day New Zealand under-20s have striking options aplenty, but now they need to score

A bullish New Zealand Football high performance director Fred de Jong said the All Whites could "absolutely" qualify for another World Cup without Ryan Nelsen.

"It's a tough ask, with or without him," de Jong said.

"In recent times, the All Whites have been better with him in the team than they have without. But we've got reasonable cover at centre back so from a playing perspective I think it's less of an issue. From a leadership perspective, the senior players have to fill that void."

De Jong admitted the timing of Nelsen's decision had come as a shock but he had no complaints about not being kept in the loop.

"It has come around a bit premature but I don't think there's anything untoward in that, he maybe just wanted to get things sorted for himself."

It opens the door for Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante, an Australian defender who qualifies to play for New Zealand in March, subject to Fifa approval.

"Obviously that would be a plus for us," de Jong said.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

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