For­mer Ferns star out of re­tire­ment

The Timaru Herald - - SPORT - Phillip Rollo

Vastly ex­pe­ri­enced for­mer Foot­ball Ferns mid­fielder Katie Dun­can has come out of in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment five months out from the Women’s World Cup.

The 30-year-old, who played 119 times for New Zealand be­fore re­tir­ing from the in­ter­na­tional game in 2016, is one of 28 do­mes­ticbased play­ers se­lected for a train­ing camp in Auck­land later this week.

An­other in­ter­est­ing in­clu­sion is that of Emma Kete, who last played for the Foot­ball Ferns in 2012 and has spent some time away from the sport.

Dun­can was praised for call­ing out for­mer coach An­dreas Heraf and urg­ing him to re­sign in the wake of New Zealand’s 3-1 loss to Ja­pan last year.

She said she was ‘‘fu­ri­ous’’ with his ul­tra­de­fen­sive tac­tics and even more so with the ‘‘dis­re­spect­ful’’ com­ments he made in the post-match press con­fer­ence, where he con­ceded New Zealand could never com­pete with a team of that cal­i­bre.

‘‘We’re fight­ers, we’ve got spirit and we’ve got mana. To have that re­duced, as you can tell it in­fu­ri­ates me and makes me an­gry and sad and a lot of mixed emo­tions be­cause I know it’s not about me, it’s about those poor girls who are in the team at the mo­ment.’’

Dun­can and the other 27 play­ers in­vited to the train­ing camp will be look­ing to play their way into new coach Tom Ser­manni’s plans ahead next month’s Cup of Na­tions, where New Zealand will meet hosts Aus­tralia, Ar­gentina and Korea Repub­lic as they con­tinue their prepa­ra­tion for the World Cup, which takes place in June and July.

Se­nior Foot­ball Ferns play­ers Katie Bowen, An­nalie Longo, Sarah Gre­go­rius and Anna Green will be in at­ten­dance, while at the other end of the spec­trum, three mem­bers of the team who made his­tory by fin­ish­ing third at the Un­der-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay last year have also been se­lected. They are Anna Leat, Gabi Ren­nie and Maggie Jenk­ins.

Al­though there is hope that Abby Erceg will also come out of in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment ahead of the World Cup, the North Carolina Courage star and for­mer New Zealand cap­tain was not among the 28 play­ers se­lected for the camp.

New Zealand train­ing squad: Lily Alfeld, El­iz­a­beth An­ton, Jane Bar­nett, Han­nah Blake, Katie Bowen, Clau­dia Bunge, Daisy Cleverley, Katie Dun­can, Vic­to­ria Es­son, Anna Gree, Sarah Gre­go­rius, Tiana Hill, Grace Jale, Maggie Jenk­ins, Emily Jensen, Emma Kete, Anna Leat, An­nalie Longo, Sarah Mor­ton, Na­dia Olla, Aimee Phillips, Gabi Ren­nie, Michaela Robert­son, Paige Satchell, Stephanie Sk­il­ton, Malia Stein­metz, Ni­cole Strat­ford, Bel Van No­or­den, Saskia Vosper.

GETTY IM­AGES

For­mer Foot­ball Ferns mid­fielder Katie Dun­can is one 28 do­mes­tic-based play­ers se­lected for a train­ing camp in Auck­land later this week.

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