Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz has been selected to represent the New Zealand men’s football team at the 2012 London Olympics.
Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz has been selected to represent the New Zealand men-s football team at the 2012 London Olympics.
In a massive coup for Smeltz, the ace goal scorer is one of three players over the age of 23 that is allowed to be selected in the 18-man squad.
“I-m buzzing to be honest,” a proud Smeltz said.
“To represent New Zealand on any occasion is an honour but the Olympic Games will be something special.
“To be part of a tournament that features the best of the best from every sport will be a highlight.”
The selection of Smeltz means he-ll miss part of Perth Glory-s pre-season program, including a camp in South Africa, but he heads to London with the club-s blessing.
“I am delighted for him,” Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson said.
“What an occasion to go to the Olympics, he-ll be a very proud man and it-s great that someone related to Perth Glory will be in London.”
The Oly Whites leave for London on July 9 via Asia where they play Olympic-bound Japan and Korea Republic on July 11 and 14 respectively before meeting fellow finalists UAE in Europe in their final warm up on July 19.
Sixteen teams will compete in the London tournament at venues including Old Trafford, St James Park, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Wembley. New Zealand have been grouped with Belarus, Egypt and Brazil in Group C of the 16 nation finals, opening their campaign against the Belarusians in Coventry on July 26, one day before the games- opening ceremony.