March 13, 2012
AUCKLAND – The Football Ferns’ road to London will continue in Northland with Whangarei’s Toll Stadium confirmed to host the first leg of Oceania Women’s Olympic playoff on March 31.
The match will be first time the Football Ferns have played a home international outside Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Hamilton and will form part of a festival of international and local football with the game preceded by the men’s and women’s finals of Northland’s Community Cups.
“It’s great to be able to take a crucial game to a part of the country that hasn’t hosted international football before and even better that it becomes part of wider football event for the community,” said New Zealand Football Chief Executive Grant McKavanagh.
“We want to take big games around the country as much as we can. The men’s Olympic qualifiers begin in Taupo this week and there are All Whites games on the horizon later in the year that we’ll be talking to various city councils about.”
The away leg on April 4, likely to be in Port Moresby or Lae, could yet prove a tricky affair so an in-form Ferns will look to take control of the tie with a comprehensive performance on home soil.
Boosted by an increasing number of overseas-based professionals, the Football Ferns recently ran world number one USA to the wire in a 1-2 defeat and finished the Cyprus Cup unbeaten earlier this week after draws against Netherlands, South Africa and South Korea and a victory over Northern Ireland.
Admission to the stadium is $5 and includes all three matches on the day. Children aged 14 or under get in free of charge.
Olympic Games – OFC Qualification Playoff (home and away)
New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
Toll Stadium, Whangarei
Admission: (includes two Northland Community Cup finals).
Adults: $5; Children: 14 or under – free of charge
Papua New Guinea v New Zealand
Papua New Guinea (Location TBD)