10 Isuzu UTE A-Leagues stars called up by New Zealand for Paris Olympics

New Zealand head coach Darren Bazeley has selected 10 current Isuzu UTE A-League players in total for his squad to compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

Fresh off their recent 3-0 triumph over hosts Vanuatu which saw the All Whites clinch the OFC Men’s Nations Cup, Bazeley has now put his faith in six players from Wellington Phoenix whilst A-Leagues newcomers Auckland FC will also be represented.

There are seven A-Leagues players in the 18-man squad, while another three have been selected as alternates.

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Oskar van Hattum

Lukas Kelly-Heald, Matthew Sheridan, Finn Surman, Sam Sutton, Fin Conchie and Oskar van Hattum are the six Wellington players in the main squad, while Isaac Hughes is among the alternate players. Ex-Phoenix stars Alex Paulsen (Bournemouth) and Ben Old (Saint-Etienne) are also in the squad.

Auckland’s Jesse Randall has been selected among the 18 players, with teammate Liam Gillion as alternate.

Newcastle Jets’ Lachlan Bayliss will make the trip to Paris as an alternate.

Alby Kelly-Heald, Scott Morris, Luis Toomey, Finn Linder, Aaryan Raj, Ronan Wynne, Zac Zoricich and Nathan Lobo have been named as non-travelling reserves. 

One player who won’t be representing the Oly Whites in Paris though is former Wellington flyer Liberato Cacace after his Serie A side Empoli refused to release him for the tournament given the matches fall outside of the recognised FIFA window.

Jesse Randall

Another former Wellington player making up the travelling party is midfielder Sarpreet Singh who, currently without a club, who will travel to Paris as one of three over-aged players in the squad.

With Nottingham Forest refusing to release striker Chris Wood for the games, Bazeley has opted to go with two A-Leagues forwards in Wellington’s Van Hattum and Auckland’s Randall while former Wellington striker and current Plymouth Argyle forward Ben Waine has also been selected.

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There was heartbreak for ‘Nix stalwart Tim Payne though as a hamstring injury sustained at last month’s OFC Nations Cup has ruled him out of contention, dashing his hopes of making a second Olympic appearance.

The Oly Whites kick off their campaign against Guinea in Nice on July 24 before then facing the United States and host nation France in what shapes as a difficult group.

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“The Olympics is a special tournament, so it is great to name the side that will be heading over to Paris 2024 as part of the wider New Zealand Team,” said coach Bazeley.

“With the competition happening outside of a FIFA window, there have been some challenges with clubs releasing players, who are all really keen to be part of the tournament, but that is an issue that numerous countries have faced.

“In many ways, it shows the level that our players are operating at that top clubs want to hold on to people like Chris Wood, but luckily we have been building real depth, so we have talented options to come in instead.

“Over half of this group were part of the All Whites squad that won the OFC Men’s Nations Cup last month, so we are looking to continue that momentum when we get to France.

“This is a rare opportunity for us to test ourselves against some top teams, especially the hosts France in our final group game, and I know all of the players are massively excited and proud to be representing Aotearoa New Zealand.”

New Zealand’s Olympics squad:


Alex Paulsen – AFC Bournemouth
Kees Sims – GAIS Goteborg


Tyler Bindon – Reading FC
Michael Boxall – Minnesota United
Lukas Kelly-Heald – Wellington Phoenix
Matthew Sheridan – Wellington Phoenix
Finn Surman – Wellington Phoenix
Sam Sutton – Wellington Phoenix


Joe Bell – Viking FK, Norway
Fin Conchie – Wellington Phoenix
Matt Garbett – NAC Breda, Netherlands
Ben Old – AS Saint-Etienne
Sarpreet Singh* – Unattached


Riley Bidois – Loudoun United
Jay Herdman – Vancouver Whitecaps
Jesse Randall – Auckland FC
Oskar van Hattum – Wellington Phoenix
Ben Waine – Plymouth Argyle 

Alternate Players: 

Lachlan Bayliss – Newcastle Jets
Liam Gillion – Auckland FC
Henry Gray – Ipswich Town FC
Isaac Hughes – Wellington Phoenix

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