Durante, Brockie go into overtime for All Whites

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Andrew Durante
STEPPING UP: Andrew Durante has put himself forward for All Whites duty.

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Andrew Durante says the timing is not ideal but both he and Jeremy Brockie have put their hands up for All Whites duty next month.

New Zealand Football high performance director Fred de Jong canvassed senior All Whites, including Durante, for their opinions on playing a now confirmed friendly against South Africa in Auckland on May 30.

It is understood that the general response was lukewarm, given the date falls in most players' off-seasons and not in an official Fifa window, meaning there is no obligation to turn out for your country.

NZF will send forms to the players asking whether they will be available and former captain Tommy Smith - who skipped last month's 4-2 loss to Japan in Tokyo - has already indicated he is an unlikely starter.

But Phoenix captain Durante and team-mate Brockie are available.

"It's towards the end of our off-season, it's not an ideal time but I can see the value of playing these types of games," Durante said.

"It's obviously a tricky time because we're going to be in our off-season but I think it's a great opportunity to play in front of the home fans which doesn't happen very often and I think the New Zealand public are probably crying out for a game in New Zealand. Tommy has his own opinions on it and if he wants to be available, he'll be available, if he's not he's not and then New Zealand Football can deal with it however they see fit. When I made a pledge to play for the national team I said I'd be available for all games and I'll stand by that."

The Phoenix season ends on Saturday at home to Melbourne Victory and players are due to report for pre-season training on June 2.

Brockie, who spent last year's off-season on loan at Toronto FC, admitted that the constant grind had affected his A-League form this season.

But he was nonetheless keen to line up against Bafana Bafana.

"I'm looking forward to a good off-season, a good break because I've been going for a while now and it's probably shown throughout the season," Brockie said.

"I've pretty much been going for two years with international games and all that. It's taken its toll and I'm looking forward to four or five weeks off, that's for sure. The main concern is making sure I have a good couple of weeks training before that game. I'll turn up in good shape for that South Africa game."

NZF are yet to advertise for a permanent coach as they wait for the findings of an independent report into last year's failed World Cup campaign.

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Neil Emblen has the job on an interim basis and both Durante and Brockie backed his ability.

"Neil did a fantastic job, in my opinion, in Japan," Durante said.

"We know what he's about and I think he's a really good coach."

Added Brockie: "The more opportunities that Embers gets, he'll thrive, and all the boys are fully supportive of him."

- Fairfax Media

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What do you make of Tommy Smith's decision not to play for the All Whites?

It's fair enough. He's already got a massive workload.

He's been a great servant for the All Whites. His request not to play is fine by me.

It's disappointing to say the least. What happened to national pride?

It's unbelievable. He shouldn't be picked for NZ again.

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