Soccer-Bamboozled: NZ coach slams FIFA over World Cup qualifying tournament
New Zealand coach Danny Hay has criticised FIFA for scheduling part of Oceania's World Cup qualifying tournament outside the international window, saying it would not happen to any other region.
New Zealand coach Danny Hay has criticised FIFA for scheduling part of Oceania's World Cup qualifying tournament outside the international window, saying it would not happen to any other region. The nine-team tournament will be staged in Qatar from March 14-30 to decide which team advances to a playoff against the fourth-placed side from CONCACAF, which features nations from North and Central America, and the Caribbean.
World governing body FIFA have given the Oceania nations a one-day extension to the March 21-29 international window but they will have to haggle with clubs to release players during the first week of the tournament. New Zealand is disproportionately impacted by the scheduling given it has more players at professional clubs than their Pacific rivals.
"I spoke with the Danish Football Federation today, and they were just bamboozled. "Imagine saying to the Danish national team that you've got World Cup qualifying, but you can't pick your best players?
They have been drawn in Group B of the Oceania tournament against New Caledonia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. "Every single player that I've called up to date is a professional player, they're operating in professional environments, but clubs aren't going to be willing to hand over their players in the middle of the season," said Hay.
"It's a tough one to swallow, that we are not going to have the opportunity to bring our best players together to give us the best opportunity to qualify."
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