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The freedom to football

New Zealand 3, New Zealand Under 20 Selection 1
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, January 20 2016

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Isn’t annual leave great? We must pause at this moment and give thanks to the first Labour government for implementing the first two weeks of it, the third Labour government for adding a third week of it, and the fifth Labour government for implementing the fourth week for all employees. It is purely thanks to all those great lefty leaders, Savage, Kirk and Clark (as well as the unions that campaigned and lobbied them) that I had the unadulterated luxury of stopping what I was doing and heading on over to Albany to watch some high calibre footy in the middle of a week day!

And when I say high calibre footy, there is no hyperbole involved. This was a real all-star game containing the best of the best New Zealand players who ply their trades both at home and all over the footballing world – including at some big name clubs.

The purpose of the exercise was a simple warm-up for the Football Ferns at the end of their training camp, before they fly out for the away leg of their two legged playoff against Papua New Guinea for a place at this year’s Rio Olympics. The return leg is at North Harbour Stadium on Tuesday the 26th – 7:30pm. BE THERE!!!

This match was a great opportunity for coach Tony Readings to try a few things out in-house. We saw some different formations as various players were tried in different positions and in different combinations.

Obviously they don’t really want rival teams knowing about all these machinations so that’s probably why this wasn’t a game that was marketed to the public. This is understandable but a bit of a pity. Call me crazy but if they had kicked it off at 7pm, charged people a few bucks to wander on in, handed out a few sausages, I reckon a fair few folks would have turned up! I know I’d pay good money to see players of this calibre in action.

It is conceivable, perhaps even probable, that I’m a sick individual and not an accurate barometer of what the general public is interested in – but let’s set that possibility aside for now…

I won’t go into any further detail about the game, because if I do they might not invite me to the next one! I’ll just say that it was a joy to watch and thanks to the gorgeous light I think I got some pretty cool snaps.

Unfortunately though, the sad reality is I only have a few days left of my summer holiday and that means my capacity to drop everything and do cool stuff like this is about to be drastically curtailed. Very soon I’ll cease to be a professional football blogger and will instead have to go back to actually working for a living, in my union job, trying to make people’s lives better.

But after seeing these classy footballers in action, at least I should go back on Monday in a good mood! Unless Roma find a way to stuff it up for me on Monday morning, that is. They are playing Juventus so it should be ok… Oh, wait… Somebody please just shoot me now…

P.S. There were no team sheets or squad lists for this fixture so I have lived a little bit dangerously in captioning these pics! It’s a good exam of my New Zealand women’s football knowledge and I think I passed it but go easy on me if I got one or two wrong. I only phoned a friend on one… 🙂

Categories: Football Ferns

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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