Aotearoa is the home to yet another football competition right now, with the Oceanic Football Confederation (OFC) holding the Men’s Olympic Qualifiers in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The tournament will take place for the next two weeks, finishing on the 9th of September. The winner of the competition will automatically qualify to play in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
There are seven teams in the competition, however, due to visa issues, Papua New Guinea has not made it to NZ yet and already missed its opening game. Pool A contains NZ, Papua New Guinea and Fiji and Pool B contains Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
Games will be hosted in three venues: All Pool A games and the semi-finals will take place at Go Media Stadium Mount Smart, Pool B games will be played at The Trusts Arena, and the final will take place at North Harbour Stadium.
Apart from the final, you can attend any game for free. Every match will be free to watch online too, streamed live on OFC’s website.
This whole ‘one team isn’t currently in the country’ situation will affect the schedule, but here it is anyway:
Group A (all at Go Media Stadium Mount Smart):
Sunday 27 August
3 PM - New Zealand vs Papua New Guinea (abandoned)
Wednesday 30 August 2023:
3 PM - New Zealand vs Fiji
Saturday 2 September 2023:
3 PM - Papua New Guinea vs Fiji
GROUP B (all at The Trusts Arena):
Monday 28 August 2023:
12 PM - Samoa vs Tonga (Tonga won 3 - 0)
3 PM - Solomon Islands vs Vanuatu
Thursday 31 August 2023:
12 PM - Tonga vs Vanuatu
3 PM - Solomon Islands vs Samoa
Sunday 3 September 2023:
12 PM - Vanuatu vs Samoa
3 PM - Tonga vs Solomon Islands
SEMI-FINALS (all at Go Media Stadium Mt. Smart)
Wednesday 6 September 2023:
3 PM - Group A Winner vs Group B Runner-Up
7 PM - Group B Winner vs Group A Runner-Up
FINAL (at North Harbour Stadium)
Saturday 9 September 2023:
7 PM - Winner Semi-Final 1 vs Winner Semi-Final 2