Football: Four debutants named for All Whites squad to defend Oceania Nations Cup in Fiji, Vanuatu

Three newcomers have ridden Wellington Phoenix A-League success into the All Whites squad to defend the Oceania Nations Cup in Fiji and Vanuatu this month.

Fin Conchie, Sam Sutton and Oskar van Hattum have been included in the 21-man national squad for the first time, joining seven clubmates, after the Phoenix enjoyed a historic season that took them within two points of the competition premiership and a game of the championship final.

A fourth rookie - Jesse Randall - has just been named to the Auckland FC roster for their maiden season in the Aussie competition.

The squad is a balance between senior internationals preparing for a World Cup cycle and U23 players about to contest the Paris Olympics.

Oskar van Hattum celebrates a goal for Wellington Phoenix.
Oskar van Hattum celebrates a goal for Wellington Phoenix. Photo credit: Photosport

"The timing of this Nations Cup has made it quite difficult to select this final squad," said coach Darren Bazeley.

"Over the last month, I have spoken to all of the players around their personal situations, with some of our potential players still mid-season, some coming off the back of long European seasons, and some in various personal or contract situations. 

"With the Olympics also being so close to the Nations Cup, with them being pretty much back-to-back tournaments, we have had to take that into consideration as well, managing player club and country commitments.

"This is a strong All Whites squad, with a large number of young U23 players, who will be part of the Olympic campaign, so having this time together is a real benefit leading into Paris 2024." 

New Zealand open their account against New Caledonia on June 15, followed by Solomon Islands (June 18) and Vanuatu (June 21).

All Whites: Kosta Barbarouses, Tyler Bindon, Liberato Cacace, Fin Conchie, Max Crocombe, Alex Greive, Cam Howieson, Eli Just, Lukas Kelly-Heald, Max Mata, Ben Old, Alex Paulsen, Tim Payne, Jesse Randall, Alex Rufer, Oli Sail, Tommy Smith, Finn Surman, Sam Sutton, Ben Waine, Oskar van Hattum