Gianni Stennes. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand have lost one of the best chances in international football to Australia.
Gianni Stains, who played for the Allivites at the Tokyo Games, said his loyalty to manager Danny Hay was elsewhere and that he chose to represent Australia at the senior level.
He says he is disappointed but accepts the decision.
“I would not say it would be disappointing to see Gianni make this choice,” Hay said in a New Zealand football statement today.
“He was part of the Olympic team, which showed how exciting the future of New Zealand football is, and I think the time he spent in our national organization played a major role in his development. At the end of the day, it’s his decision, and we value it.
Meanwhile, six newcomers have joined the 21 All-Whites squad to play against Curaao and Bahrain next month.
It also includes 10 athletes who were part of the Olympic team that reached the quarterfinals in Tokyo.
The team was made up of players from outside Australia and New Zealand due to return travel restrictions in both countries.
“I think this is a testament to the strength of the talent we create and the success they have had overseas. We were able to put together a team that did not have players from New Zealand and Australia,” Hay said.
“Obviously we want to add players from that part of the world.”
Winston Reid has not been available to play since returning from injury recently, but will join the team in a guiding role.
Stephen Marinovic (25 appearances) Haboyal Knop Hagal, Israel
Nicola Janev (1st cap) AFC Wimbledon, England
Michael Wood (2 appearances) Almer City FC, Netherlands
Michael Boxall (33 appearances) Minnesota United, USA
Nico Box (3 choices) SJK Seinäjoki, Finland
Liberto Caucasus (3 caps) Sint-Troutens VV, Belgium
Kelvin Kalua * (0 caps) Eastern Suburbs, New Zealand (currently being tested in Europe)
Nico Girvan (0 caps) Padua, Italy
Nando Bijnecker (1 cap) FC Helsinger (loan from Rio Ave FC), Denmark
Tommy Smith (38 appearances) Colchester United, Angler
Bill Duiloma (26 hats) Portland Timber, USA
Dalton Wilkins * (0 picks) Golding IF (ready for FC Helsinger), Denmark
Joe Bell (2 appearances) Viking FK, Norway
Joseph Champions * (0 caps) Giresunspor, Turkey
Matthew Carpet * (0 caps) Turin, Italy
Sarpreet Singh (6 appearances) SSV John Regensburg (credit to FC Bayern Menich), Germany
Marco Stamanic * (0 caps) HB Køge (loan from FC Copenhagen), Denmark
Andre de Jong (4 appearances) Amazulu FC, South Africa
Elijah Just (2 appearances) FC Helsinger, Denmark
Period McW (1 cap) FC Helsinger, Denmark
Chris Wood (57 appearances) Burnley FC, England