A tsunami of play­ers with nowhere to go

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - JAMES PAUL

De­clan Edge has put New Zealand’s foot­ball clubs on no­tice.

The West­ern Sub­urbs coach said as much af­ter keep­ing the Welling­ton Phoenix score­less at Porirua’s Jerry Collins Sta­dium on July 25.

Hav­ing re­cently se­cured their place in the Chatham Cup’s fi­nal eight and cur­rently sit­ting atop the Cen­tral League ta­ble, Wests drew the coun­try’s only pro­fes­sional club 0-0 with both their first and sec­ond teams.

Now Edge wants New Zealand Foot­ball’s (NZF) help to en­sure they can con­tinue pro­duc­ing top Kiwi play­ers.

‘‘We can de­velop the New Zealand player in this coun­try for this coun­try’s na­tional teams. And the na­tional league is one way of ex­pand­ing our blue­print - at the mo­ment, there is nowhere else for our play­ers to go af­ter Cen­tral League.

‘‘We are try­ing to change that and we just want NZ Foot­ball to help us de­velop Kiwi play­ers for them.’’

Wests and its part­ner, the Porirua-based Ole Foot­ball Academy, are ne­go­ti­at­ing an en­try into the Stir­ling Sports Premier­ship’s 2019/2020 sea­son.

NZF called for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for two clubs to join an ex­panded league, but Wests’ bid was de­nied last year.

De­vel­op­ment man­ager Gavin Larsen, chair­per­son Dean Ea­ger and Ole chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Sip­pola are push­ing for the club’s sec­ond bid. The part­ner­ship be­tween the academy and Wests, and this sea­son’s re­sults, was proof enough they should be al­lowed en­try, Edge said.

‘‘We build foot­ball play­ers, we’re pretty good at do­ing that work ... play­ers like Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd are ev­i­dence of that.

‘‘There is a tsunami of play­ers com­ing through the academy and there is a tsunami of play­ers who are com­ing back to us with nowhere to go.’’

To join the na­tional foot­ball league they must prove they can meet a NZF qual­ity bench­mark and en­sure their ven­ture would be com­mer­cially vi­able.

Re­cently, NZF com­pe­ti­tions and events di­rec­tor Daniel Far­row toured the Ole Academy, the Wests fa­cil­i­ties at En­deav­our Park, Whitby, and the Collins Sta­dium.

‘‘He was very im­pressed. They now see Wests as one of the top 10 clubs in New Zealand over­all,’’ Ea­ger said.

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