11 Liberty A-League stars named in Football Ferns squad for Olympic qualifiers

11 of the Liberty A-League’s finest have been selected in the latest Football Ferns squad as they bid to secure their spot at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

With New Zealand playing Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu in the upcoming OFC Women’s Olympic Qualifier tournament in February, head coach Jitka Klimková has called up 24 players.

Wellington Phoenix will see six players head off on international duty with captain Annalie Longo, Kate Taylor, Michaela Foster and Mackenzie Barry all selected while uncapped ‘Nix duo Macey Fraser and goalkeeper Brianna Edwards have also been selected.

Experienced Melbourne City pair Hannah Wilkinson and Rebekah Stott have been named in the squad as have Perth’s Grace Jale and Liz Anton, however the latter will only be available for the Fern’s first game against Tonga on February 7.

Meanwhile Canberra United’s Ruby Nathan has also been called up but, like Anton, will only be available for the Ferns’ opening game of the tournament against Tonga.

“Our priority for this competition is qualifying for Paris 2024 and taking the Ford Football Ferns to the Summer Olympics for the fifth time,” said Head Coach Jitka Klimková.

“The format of tournament football always presents unique challenges and opportunities. In this case, with games happening every three days in hot and humid conditions, we have to be efficient in our final preparation and diligent with our recovery.”

New Zealand face a gruelling schedule of three games in the space of six days during the tournament in Samoa as they play Tonga on February 7 before facing hosts Samoa February 10 before finishing up against Vanuatu on February 13.