The All Whites soccer team did what no other New Zealand sporting team managed in 2009: they stopped a nation dead and created one of the greatest moments of sporting theatre this country has ever witnessed. Never mind that they were playing tiny Bahrain; never mind that neither New Zealand nor Bahrain was ranked inside FIFA's top 60 footballing nations. This was the all-or-nothing, 'One Shot For Glory' game that would catapult the winner on to soccer's greatest stage - the World Cup. Rarely do games like this live up to their billing, but the All Whites' heroic 1-0 victory in Wellington to secure the home-and-away tie actually exceeded expectations. Now, the All Whites have South Africa 2010 to look forward to and their talented captain Ryan Nelsen (captain of the English team Blackburn Rovers) plots the path in this 'fanzine' publication. 'Nelly' will pen his own views on all the players, the opposition they will face, and talk of his boyhood dream to pull on the All Whites shirt. The book will also look at all the early qualifying games, the logistical nightmares that arise when trying to pull a New Zealand team together from right around the globe and, of course, that great night in Wellington. It will be illustrated throughout with magnificent full colour photography.
Tony Smith is a sports journalist for The Press newspaper in Christchurch and is a specialist football writer. He has been covering Ryan's career for 11 years and his feature on Ryan at Blackburn Rovers in 2007 earned him the NZ Sports Journalist of the Year award.
First published April 2010.
Tony Smith works on The Christchurch Press sports desk and is a specialist football writer. He has been covering Rya''s career for 11 years and knows him well. His feature on Ryan at Blackburn Rovers in 2007 earned him the NZ Sports Journalist of the Year award.