29 Jan 2019

Sermanni selects strong Ferns squad

10:49 am on 29 January 2019

Six players with more than 100 senior international caps have been named in the New Zealand women's football team for the upcoming Cup of Nations event.

New Zealand striker Emma Kete.

New Zealand striker Emma Kete. Photo: Photosport

With the return of three high-profile players since the introduction of Tom Sermanni as coach in October last year, the Scotman has been able to select a strong squad for the tournament in Australia, which is a key part of the Football Ferns build-up for this year's World Cup.

Former captain Abby Erceg, veteran midfielder Katie Duncan and striker Emma Kete have all been named after making themselves available for selection again.

Kete, a 31-year-old striker with 48 international caps to her name, returns to the fold after last being part of the New Zealand squad for the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

Erceg has 132 caps for the Ferns, while Duncan (119), Ria Percival (135), captain Ali Riley (119), Annalie Longo (109) and Betsy Hassett (107) are the others whose appearances for the team have recahed three figures.

"We are really pleased with the experience and quality we have named in this squad," Sermanni said.

"We know that it is going to be a tough challenge against three world-class sides, but this will be an ideal test for us as we continue our build-up for the FIFA Women's World Cup."

The world No 19 Ferns will take on fellow World Cup contestants Australia, Argentina and the Korea Republic across three Australian cities in what is the inaugural edition of the Cup of Nations.

New Zealand start their tournament against Australia in Sydney on 28 February, before facing 36th-ranked Argentina on 3 March in Brisbane and world No 14 Korea Republic on 6 March in Melbourne.

The Ferns play The Netherlands, Canada and Cameroon in their group at the World Cup, which starts in France in June.

Also returning to the Ferns squad after not featuring as part of their title-winning effort at the Oceania Nations Cup in New Caledonia in November and December are striker Aimee Phillips and midfielder Daisy Cleverley.

New Zealand squad for the Cup of Nations: CJ Bott, Katie Bowen, Daisy Cleverley, Katie Duncan, Abby Erceg, Victoria Esson, Anna Green, Sarah Gregorius, Betsy Hassett, Emma Kete, Anna Leat, Annalie Longo, Meikayla Moore, Sarah Morton, Erin Nayler, Ria Percival, Aimee Phillips, Ali Riley, Katie Rood, Paige Satchell, Stephanie Skilton, Rebekah Stott, Rosie White.

Tournament schedule (NZ times)

Thursday, 28 February

Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah (Sydney), New South Wales

Match One: Argentina v Korea Republic, 6.35pm

Match Two: Australia v New Zealand, 9.30pm

Sunday, 3 March

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland

Match One: Argentina v New Zealand, 6.05pm

Match Two: Australia v Korea Republic, 9pm

Wednesday, 6 March

AAMI Park, Melbourne, Victoria

Match One: Korea Republic v New Zealand, 5.05pm

Match Two: Australia v Argentina, 8pm