Wright makes U17 de­but in Qatar

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

Mata­mata teenager Oliver Wright made his New Zealand un­der-17 de­but when com­ing off the bench in the Young All Whites 1-2 loss to As­pire Academy in Doha, Qatar.

The New Zealand un­der-17 team has signed off from a fort­night-long camp in Doha, Qatar with the loss.

From a well-worked short cor­ner in the 54th minute, a deft piece of con­trol and sharp half- vol­ley from Cameron Howieson on the edge of the area brought the New Zealan­ders level, can­celling out a stun­ning long-range opener from As­pire’s cap­tain in the 25th minute.

But the hosts con­verted a win­ner in­side the fi­nal ten min­utes when the Young All Whites’ de­fence could only man­age a par­tial clear­ance.

The four-match

trip

to

the world-lead­ing Doha fa­cil­ity, ex­tended from two matches when the Young All Whites were with­drawn from the 16-team Sanix Cup tour­na­ment in Ja­pan due to safety con­cerns, has seen New Zealand beat a Club Brugge age group side 1-0 and drop a trio of matches to As­pire Academy 3-4, 0-3, and 1-2.

Coach Steve Cain said the ex­pe­ri­ence had been in­valu­able as his side tried to make the step up from Ocea­nia qual­i­fiers to the Fe´ de´ ra­tion In­ter­na­tionale de Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion U17 World Cup in Mex­ico in June and July.

This trip, to an academy quite pos­si­bly un­matched in the world, had been a huge step­ping stone for our team. De­fend­ers Reece Lambert and Har­shae Raniga along with for­ward Tim Payne shone on tour with Jor­dan Vale and Dy­lan Stans­field not far be­hind.

The next date in the Young All Whites calendar is the of­fi­cial draw for the fi­nals on May 17, shortly af­ter the con­clu­sion of Euro­pean and South Amer­i­can qual­i­fi­ca­tion tour­na­ments com­plete the 24 nation field.

New Zealand Foot­ball are also look­ing for more games for the Young All Whites be­fore the start of the fi­nals on June 18.

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