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Familiar names join All Whites tour

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Several names familiar to football fans in New Zealand will be on the sideline with new head coach Danny Hay when the All Whites return to action in November with two away matches against the Republic of Ireland and Lithuania.

Hay will be joined by Neil Emblen, Rory Fallon and Jason Batty, who will all be part of the coaching staff for next month’s tour.

They are no strangers to the national team set-up with striker Fallon earning 24 caps for the All Whites while goalkeeper Batty was between the sticks for 47 ‘A’ internationals. Like Hay, both former internationals have also worn the captain’s armband for their country.

Emblen meanwhile acted as interim All Whites head coach for two matches in 2014 after an impressive professional playing career.

Fallon holds a special place in the hearts of All Whites supporters as one of his six goals is among the most famous moments in New Zealand sporting history, the striker heading home the winner against Bahrain that qualified his country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"He’s a hugely passionate New Zealander and hugely passionate about the All Whites, so I think he’s a perfect addition," Hay says.

"I think he’s going to be an ideal conduit between myself and the players, and I don’t think anybody knows New Zealand or All Whites culture more than him."

In addition to carving out a place for himself in All Whites folklore, Fallon - the son of former All Whites coach Kevin - enjoyed a lengthy professional career in England, as did Emblen before heading down under to play in the newly-formed A-League in 2005.

He was a team mate of fellow defender Hay at Walsall and linked up with the 31-cap All White again at the now-defunct New Zealand Knights before ending his playing career domestically and moving into coaching.

Emblen took the New Zealand U-23 national team to the London Olympics in 2012 before being placed in temporary charge of the All Whites two years later for a 4-2 defeat to Japan and scoreless draw with South Africa.

He is currently based in the United States, where he works as an assistant coach for Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit the Colorado Rapids.

"Having coached the All Whites and U-23s previously, he understands the football culture, landscape and challenges within New Zealand Football and the All Whites," Hay says.

"He is also strategically placed to oversee, keep tabs on and build relationships with the ever-growing number of New Zealand players based in the United States."

Also operating in the professional game in America is Batty, who is currently goalkeeping coach for National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) club the Utah Royals.

"He’s a former All Whites captain, a former professional player and has huge coaching experience in the USA at both MLS and NWSL level," Hay says.

"Like Rory and Neil, he is hugely passionate and invested in the All Whites developing into a team the country can collectively be proud of."

The short-term appointments of Emblen, Fallon and Batty allow Des Buckingham, who served as All Whites assistant coach in the team’s most recent matches in 2018, to focus on attempting to make history with the U-23 national team at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Buckingham led New Zealand to Tokyo by winning the Olympic qualifying tournament earlier this month and also has a key role to play at New Zealand Football in youth development.

Hay will take charge of the All Whites for the first time against Ireland on 14 November in Dublin before meeting Lithuania three days later in Vilnius.

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