New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson has come up with a team without a couple of high-profile names for the Pacific Games tournament.
This is the competition to determine the qualifying teams for the Olympics in Rio. New Zealand recently hosted the under 20 World Cup with much success and they have been hoping that this will introduce a lot of new talent to the national team. Hodgson, though, is aware that Olympics also has an important value and New Zealand reaching this stage will be important. They have been grouped alongside Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and New Caledonia in the group B.
The team has to navigate across five matches in just 10 days if they are to reach the Olympics. This will be the ultimate test of the team since a number of factors are against New Zealand at the moment. While the young players being coached by Hudson are used to cooler temperatures, they will have to face up with the intense heat of more than 30°C when the games kick-off in the midday of the Papua New Guinea summer. The previous tournament ended in a massive disappointment for New Zealand, who were then coached by Ricki Herbert. The New Zealand Football stated in its view that the team failed to adapt to the conditions.
“Ever since I’ve been here I’ve been asking questions about that and what went wrong, without digging up old dirt, just trying to find out what we could learn.And the biggest thing we have focused on is our mentality. We have made this group ruthlessly accountable. We know decisions will go against us, we know there may be problems on the way to the ground, crowd issues, but we need to make sure we’re not affected by that,” said the New Zealand boss.