Next month, in theory, that park will be full of combi vans sporting Silver Ferns and Maple Leafs.
Except it won’t be. In March, New Zealand will take on Canada in this random spot behind closed doors. No visitors allowed.
It is the first great mystery of 2018 in trying to work out who signed off on this.
The original NZ Football Press Release said this.
“By mutual agreement the match will be a closed door affair. Both teams are at the beginning of a new cycle and will have new coaches and this will be the first time that the coaches and players will meet and work together.”
Hang on; so first games under new managerial control need to be private things that never happened for the people who really care?
Just to make it even stranger, NZF have subsequently announced that the match will probably be live-streamed. Doing that for a match being played behind closed doors seems a touch counterintuitive.
And given everything else about this match what can we expect in terms of broadcasting quality? Perhaps a couple of hand-held cell phones will do the trick
New Zealand has played friendlies in the UK before and most have been well attended. A match against Canada in one of the smaller London grounds; Fulham or Queens Park Rangers would be the obvious candidates, would make a lot of sense. Maybe too much sense.
Instead the game is set down for Murcia, Spain. The home of a 4th division club in the Spanish leagues.
As an aside, is the Canada’s men’s team the most underperforming team in world football? They have three sides in the MLS, and are in a FIFA Confederation that has a generous qualification quota so it is easier for the USA to qualify. They have made one World Cup. Their women’s team has made every World Cup since 1995.
On the positive side at least it means NZ Football will need to actually appoint a coach with a deadline in place. But this is not the way to attract the best.