All Whites defender Andrew Durante only has to look over his fence to get a reminder of the importance of Saturday's World Cup qualifying clash with Peru in Wellington.

Durante's next door neighbour is Lima-born Yasmin Hende, who has become the de facto head of the Peru supporters club for the crunch match.

She is co-ordinating the activities of the estimated 2,000 Peruvian fans coming to New Zealand.

It's not quite neighbours at war but there has certainly been plenty of friendly banter.


Durante and his wife Sarah are close friends with Hende and her husband, Kiwi Sam Lepine.

The two women met at a local gym four years ago, and have children of similar ages.

The relationship took a twist on October 11, when Peru was confirmed as New Zealand's opponent for a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

"It's been interesting," laughed Durante.

"They are great friends of ours but Yas has been joking a lot that we can't go to their house anymore ... there are too many secrets."

When Peru's playoff spot was confirmed - after a tense 1-1 draw against Colombia - Hende couldn't contain her excitement.

"I ran over to Andrew's house with my jersey on," said Hende.

"I was jumping around, singing and I told him we can't see each other any more. They are probably our closest friends in Wellington but I said he would be banned from our house ... this is too important."

Hende, who met Lepine when they were both working in the United States, has inadvertently become the main organiser and leader of the huge travelling Peruvian support.

The 28-year-old lawyer started a Facebook group soon after the qualification was confirmed, which now has swelled to more than 3,000 followers, and she has been overwhelmed by enquiries and requests.

"I didn't expect it to be this big - it's been amazing," said Hende.

"There are more than 2,000 Peruvians coming for this match. They are coming from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, United States and a lot from Australia. Also a few hundred all the way from Peru."

The capital will be flooded in Peru's iconic red and white on Friday. The team arrives at 12:45pm from Auckland and Hende expects there will be more than 1,000 Peruvian fans to greet them at the airport.

"We will be singing, dancing, playing drums," said Hende.

"It's so exciting. I never thought we would see our national team in New Zealand."

Later that evening Peru fans will gather outside the team's hotel in central Wellington, for another hour of singing and chanting.

"It's a tradition in South American, said Hende.

"We want to celebrate that they are here, and show them how much support they have from us."

Unfortunately, some of that colour and noise won't be translated to the stadium on Saturday afternoon, with New Zealand Football not allowing flags, instruments and drums into the venue.

"It's a shame, it's a real shame," said Hende.

"I think it would have been great. But we respect their rules and that's fine. We will still make plenty of noise outside before the game."

Whatever happened, there's bound to be some interesting conversations between the households at their next dinner party.
"It's so exciting and we are really hopeful," said Hende. "It would mean so much to Peru. But of course I want Andrew to do well too."