Wellington Phoenix players Ben Waine, Callan Elliot, Callum McCowatt, Liberato Cacace and Alexander Paulsen have been called up by Head Coach Des Buckingham to the New Zealand U-23s squad for the Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers.
Cacace and Waine are both club Academy graduates with Elliot a more recent participant in the club’s reserves side and McCowatt a first team signing this season. Academy Goalkeeper, Alex Paulsen will also join the squad.
The tournament will be held in Fiji from 21 September to 5 October, with all four senior players available for the opening game of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Sunday October 13 against Western United at Westpac Stadium.
Cacace, who also has two full representative caps, will be looking to impress once again on the international stage alongside his New Zealand U-20s team mates Elliot, McCowatt and Waine, all of whom were part of the side who made it to the quarter-finals in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Wellington Phoenix Head Coach Ufuk Talay, is excited by the talent the club can provide the international setup and believes this experience will be vital to their growth and further development within the senior game.
‘‘It is very important that we provide our players with the experience in both the club and country environments as it will further aid their progression as professional footballers.
‘‘I’m very happy for the boys who have received the call-up and it just shows that their consistent hard work and determination pays off.
Des Buckingham’s side will begin the tournament on 21 September with their opening fixture against Samoa.
OFC Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament NZ Fixtures
21 September - Samoa v New Zealand
24 September - New Zealand v American Samoa
27 September - New Zealand v Solomon Islands