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

Hawke's Bay United down Wellington Phoenix Reserves in scrappy ASB Premiership clash Liverpool fans plan walkout protest over rising ticket prices Adelaide United draw 2-2 with Sydney FC in A-League Andrew Durante and Michael McGlinchey working hard to fix A-League's Phoenix All Whites coach Anthony Hudson 'not satisfied', but still upbeat for Oceania Nations Cup Canterbury United determined to cement ASB Premiership finals berth Sydney mayor backs bid to save the Wellington Phoenix Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick working hard to unearth a mean streak All Whites forced to train for two weeks after failing to arrange match 15 footballers sanctioned for mass brawl in Argentina pre-season friendly match

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