National league one step closer

By Gary Caffell


Football

Heartland Wairarapa have submitted their case for entry to the 2013-14 national summer football league.

And while there are no guarantees they will be given the green light by New Zealand Football, the board members are "very optimistic" of a favourable result.

"We believe we have ticked all the boxes, both financially and administratively," board member Phil Keinzley told the Wairarapa Times-Age yesterday. "We are ready to go."

Just when Heartland Wairarapa will know their fate is unclear. If the national hierarchy decide to stay with the same number of teams as this season (eight), it might not happen until March, but if they elect to increase that number to say 10, it could be earlier than that.

A successful submission will see Heartland Wairarapa play their league games at the home of Wairarapa-Bush rugby, Memorial Park, starting next November, with Keinzley confident the surface there will be ideal for quality football.

Many of the players likely to be part of any Heartland Wairarapa squad will be turning out for Wairarapa United in this year's Central League, something Keinzley believes will be a big help in deciding who has the talent to perform at the highest level, and who doesn't.

"Obviously we wouldn't start settling on a playing roster or the coaching staff until we hear we are in the national league; that's when things will really start to take off."

The plan is to build a youth team which will comprise the district's most promising age group players, working closely with both New Zealand Football and Capital Soccer in the development of this side.

"The whole idea is to create a pathway which will enable our younger players to eventually make it all the way to the national league," Keinzley said.

On the administration front, Heartland Wairarapa is particularly well served with members of the board, including high profile identities such as Bob Francis (chairman), Sam Rossiter-Stead (CEO), Peter Cocks, Jorge Sandoval, Bruce Logan, Sarah Parker, John Tulloch, Shane McManaway, Nick Rogers and former All Whites coach Allan Jones.

Letters supporting national league entry have been received from other notables, Sir Michael Fay and Sir Brian Lochore.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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