Football: All Whites to play in Dunedin

Full coverage in tomorrow's ODT.
Full coverage in tomorrow's ODT.
International football is coming back to Dunedin with confirmation the All Whites will play their final home World Cup qualifier at Forsyth Barr Stadium next month.

The March 22 fixture against New Caledonia will be the first time the national team has played in the city for 25 years.

A win in the Friday night match will provide New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert and his charges Oceania's place in the intercontinental playoff against the fourth-placed Concacaf (North and Central American) nation in November 2013.

A draw would leave the All Whites needing a point four days later in the Solomon Islands, while a win for New Caledonia would see them draw level with New Zealand with a game to play.

"Anything is a possibility but nothing can be taken for granted in World Cup qualification," said All Whites coach Ricki Herbert.

The match is the first football international at the indoor Forsyth Barr Stadium, and is the first time the All Whites have played in Dunedin since 1988 against Australia.

New Zealand Football chief executive Grant McKavanagh said Dunedin was long overdue to host a high profile All Whites match, with other venues around New Zealand hosting key matches in the recent past.

"New Zealand Football is committed to playing matches around the country. We've already played All Whites fixtures in Auckland, Christchurch and now Dunedin."

The city was also the venue for New Zealand's first international when it played against Australia at Carisbrook in 1922.

"Dunedin is noted for its love of sport and 'scarfie' population," McKavanagh said. "In bringing this crucial match to Forsyth Barr Stadium, we're hoping to see supporters from the region get out en masse and support the All Whites as they chase a berth at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil."

Several of the Herbert's potential All Whites will get an advanced look at the venue when the Wellington Phoenix plays the Melbourne Heart at Forsyth Barr Stadium on March 3 in the A-League.


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