A tsunami of players with nowhere to go
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.