Kamo's Hannah Wilkinson is back in New Zealand and looking for a rare home victory with the Football Ferns.

New Zealand take on Japan at Westpac Stadium on Sunday as they look to continue their build-up to the 2019 Women's Football World Cup in France.

Wilkinson, a striker, has been plying her trade in Sweden for club Vittsjö GIK. The side has struggled through the first five matches of the season, coming away with just a solitary victory and draw.

But now her focus firmly lies with the Football Ferns, who have been going through a transition.


Wilkinson said she is ready to pull on the Fern once again.

"There is no greater honour than wearing the Fern and representing the country that I absolutely love. I feel nothing but pride whenever I get that golden opportunity to wear it," she said.

"We've had a lot of players retire or step down from playing. There's been a lot of disruptions particularly since our exit at the Rio Olympics last year.

"It all started to change there."

Since the Rio Olympics, the Football Ferns have had the retirement, comeback and re-retirement of inspirational captain and Northlander Abby Erceg, as well as the return of Sarah Gregorius.

There have been a couple of issues since the introduction of Andreas Heraf as coach but a lot of that can be swept under the rug with a good win over the world No 11 Japan.

New Zealand sit 20th currently but a win on Sunday could move them up the rankings.

On the positive side, a landmark pay equity deal has brightened the future of budding young footballers as well as giving the current crop appropriate compensation for their commitment.


Wilkinson said the current team is a special unit.

"Unique as individuals, unbreakable as a whole. We have so many amazing individuals with different talents, characteristics and stories," she said when speaking to NZ Football.

"When we come together through the shared bond of football, we display a team culture that is like no other, an incredible pride for ourselves and for our country.

"Despite any forces of change, our team culture and our values are strong, and we will persist."

Wilkinson will be hoping to add to her tally of 25 goals in 86 appearances.