Waitt Names Squad For Ofc Nations Cup

New Zealand coach Mick Waitt has named his 23-man squad to participate in next months OFC Nations Cup tournament that doubles as second stage World Cup Qualifiers.

By Ben Coonan   New Zealand coach Mick Waitt has named his 23-man squad to participate in next months OFC Nations Cup tournament that doubles as second stage World Cup Qualifiers.

The All Whites will be at full strength for the five match series and will again be captained by US based defender Ryan Nelsen.

In what is a relatively inexperienced squad, only nine members have fronted more than ten times for the All Whites, with five players making their senior debut.

Included in the list of debutants is 18-year-old defender Steven Old, who captained the New Zealand Under 23 side in the recent Olympic Qualifiers.

Overall, there are eleven players who were involved in January's Qualifiers and seven survivors from the All Whites successful OFC Nations Cup campaign of 2002.

Notable absentees include stalwarts Chris Jackson, Mark Burton and Chris Zoricich as well as Belgian based striker Chris Bouckenooge.

Bradford goalkeeper Mark Paston is a sure starter between the posts for the All Whites after an impressive year with the newly relegated Division Two outfit.

The Kiwi's will be led at the back by Nelsen and locally based defender Gerard Davis, whom have amassed 60 international caps between them.

In midfield, the influence of MLS stars Simon Elliott and Duncan Oughton is sure to complement that of New Zealand's highest paid sportsman, Ivan Vicelich of Roda JC.

Chris Killen and Vaughan Coveny (pictured above) are tipped to start in the final third, with both enjoying solid hit outs with their respective clubs this season.

The Adelaide tournament will be the All Whites first matches since last October, where they fell 3-0 to Iran in Tehran in the AFC/OFC Challenge Cup.

The loss was New Zealand's sixth in seven games, following on from a pair of outs against Baltic sides Estonia and Poland in late 2002 and a disastrous Confederations Cup campaign which saw the Kiwi's concede 11 goals en route to losses against Japan, Colombia and France.

Goalkeepers Glen MOSS - Sydney Olympic, Australia Mark PASTON - Bradford City, England Tamati WILLIAMS - University of Mt. Wellington, New Zealand

Defenders Che BUNCE - Randers FC, Denmark Gerard DAVIS - Western Suburbs, New Zealand Tony LOCHHEAD - Santa Barbara University, United States Ryan NELSEN - DC United, United States Steven OLD - Manawatu AFC, New Zealand Rupesh PUNA - Caversham AFC, New Zealand

Midfielders Tim BROWN - Cincinnati University, United States Raffaele DE GREGORIO - Western Suburbs, New Zealand Simon ELLIOTT - Los Angeles Galaxy, United States David MULLIGAN - Doncaster Rovers, England Duncan OUGHTON - Columbus Crew, United States Ivan VICELICH - Roda JC, Netherlands Mike WILSON - Minnesota Thunder, United States

Strikers Leo BERTOS - Rochdale AFC, England Vaughan COVENY - South Melbourne, Australia Noah HICKEY - Football Kingz, New Zealand Neil JONES - Santa Barbara University, United States Chris KILLEN - Oldham Athletic, England Shane SMELTZ - Adelaide United, Australia   New Zealand and Australia have been seeded in the second stage of the World Cup qualifiers, with the first stage of qualifiers taking place during the middle of May in the Solomon Islands and Samoa.   The top two teams from each group will then come across to Australia and play the two seeded teams in a round-robin format, with the top two advancing to the final of both the OFC Nations Cup (October 2004) and the OFC World Cup Play-off (2005).