Football: Bolton and Spurs opponents for Milk Cup side

Otago Milk Cup representatives (from left) Finn Moore, Finn Cochran, Cowan Fearn and Jake Johnson...
Otago Milk Cup representatives (from left) Finn Moore, Finn Cochran, Cowan Fearn and Jake Johnson kick the ball around at the Caledonian Ground yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Otago Milk Cup team is always up against it and has drawn a couple of traditional heavyweights in pool play this year.

Otago will play Bolton Wanderers in its opening game in Northern Ireland next Saturday, and the following Tuesday the best young talent in the province will pit their skills against the mob from Tottenham Hotspur.

Sandwiched in between is another pool game against Northern Ireland's County Fermanagh and there is also a warm-up match against Mexican side Pachuca.

"The draw has been very good to us," manager Matt Scoles said yesterday.

"The last game against Tottenham Hotspur is actually a televised game.

"It is played at the Coleraine Showgrounds and is broadcast live on BBC Sport."

Giving the boys exposure to top players in their age group (under-17) was a priceless experience that would stick with them for life, Scoles said.

It was also an incredible opportunity for them to demonstrate their skills on a grand stage.

"That is what this programme is about.

"It is about getting kids from Otago to understand the level required from professionals and put them in front of scouts from every English premier and championship side."

The province lost all three pool games at the annual tournament in Coleraine last year but beat Zamora FC in the final of the plate competition.

While Otago is not one of the top sides, the team is well thought of, Scoles said.

"We have a big reputation over there.

"At the march past on the Sunday, we do a big haka in front of the crowd and we always end up on the TV.

"We're the only team in Australasia that has ever been invited to this tournament and it's a football experience they can't get anywhere in [New Zealand]."

Midfielder/striker Finn Moore (16) has already had a few football trips overseas.

The Wanaka teenager went to Singapore with an Otago age group team and also went to Spain with Ricki Herbert's football academy side.

Now he will get to further his football education against quality teams from Bolton and Spurs.

It is a huge thrill for the promising youngster.

"It is something you think you will never get the chance to do and now it is actually happening," Moore said.

Milk Cup Otago squad
Brian Di Loreto, James Tucker, Gabriel Schwarz, Nikita Meglinski, Mathew Mitchell, Dorje Passang, Michael Glendining, Tommy Kelley, Campbell Attwood, Jake Johnson, Finn Cochran, Cain Breslin, Nathan Wilkie, Cowan Fearn, Andrew Marshall, Alex Black, Henry Crayton, Finn Moore.
Coaches: Neil Mackenzie and Andy Duncan.


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