Western Pride FC coach Graham Harvey is excited his club has secured the only game New Zealand will play in front of fans during a ten-day visit to the region.
Pride, who play in the second-tier PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland competition, will face the All Whites in Ipswich on May 18 as the visitors prepare for June’s OFC Nations Cup.
Harvey said the quality facilities available at Pride’s Briggs Rd Sporting Complex one the reasons New Zealand agreed to play the match in Ipswich.
“This game is a good opportunity for the club and the local region to watch and enjoy top level international football which has not happened in Ipswich for a long time.
New Zealand were the only undefeated side at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals, a record which included a famous draw against then reigning champions Italy.
Harvey said the game would be invaluable for Pride’s young squad as the club strived to offer the diversity of experiences required to develop them into professional footballers.
“It’s a great opportunity for our players to play against professionals playing at the highest level possible – international football,” Harvey said.
“We hope we do ourselves justice and give New Zealand a hard game just like they will get when they go to Papua New Guinea next month.”
Pride has its own New Zealand talent in its ranks in attackers Daniel Hayden Mchenery and Geoffrey Macintyre.
Mchenery is in his second season at Pride having previously trained with New Zealand’s U17 team while attending the Queensland Academy of Sport.
The 19-year moved to Australia in 2004, and played for community club North Star before moving to the QAS.
Macintyre joined Pride at the start of this season having experienced top-tier football in New Zealand.
Macintyre represented New Zealand at the 2007 FIFA U17 World Cup where he played against Brazil.
Both of Pride’s New Zealanders combined last weekend with Macintyre setting up Mchenery’s late equaliser against current PlayStation® NPL Queensland Champions Moreton Bay United.
Harvey said the draw against Moreton Bay was proof his players were not distracted in the lead-up to the All Whites game.
“The squad is excited but we have tonight’s game against South West Queensland Thunder before we play New Zealand, so the squad is focusing on our core business which is NPL football,” Harvey said.
Words: Garry McKenzie
Photo: Chris Simpson
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