The international appeal of the New Zealand Football Championship continues to grow with teams clamouring to fill their quota of guest players.
The Auckland clubs, determined to continue their bold showing in the fourth season of the competition, have gone overseas to strengthen their squads. Waitakere United, who head to Japan in December for Fifa's World Club Cup, have signed exciting Fijian youth international Roy Krishna. He will be joined at the club by fellow Fijian Ronil Kumar and Solomon Islands representatives Commins Menapi and Benjamin Totori.
Auckland City, chasing a fourth straight grand final triumph, have gone farther afield in attracting South Korean international Ki-Hyung Lee.
Krishna, 19, who was the outstanding player at the Oceania Under-20 Championship, will give width to the Waitakere strikeforce, which assumes a menacing look with last season's runaway Golden Boot winner Totori joining the West Auckland club and being reunited with Menapi.
Krishna's first-half strike earned Fiji a 1-0 win over the New Zealand Invitation XI in the second of two Football for Life matches in Fiji last month.
Kumar, an attacking midfielder, was the outstanding player for Ba in last season's O-League and has played around 10 games for Waitakere City in the just-finished Northern Premier League. Lee, 32, has played for his country 47 times since 1997 and 257 K-League games in his homeland. He also represented the republic at youth and Olympic level.
Waitakere United kick off the league with a home game against Team Wellington on November 3. With renovations - on and off the field - being undertaken at Trusts Stadium - they will play their home games at Fred Taylor Park.
Auckland City, too, might be on the move. They hope to finalise money which will allow for an $80,000 renovation of their ground at Kiwitea St.
Club chairman Ivan Vuksich said he hoped the funding would be in place in the next 10 days which would allow an early start.
The ground will be out of action until early February.
If the upgrade goes ahead, City, who start their NZFC season away to YoungHeart Manawatu on November 4, will look to Mt Smart Stadium or McLeod Rd in Te Atatu as alternatives for their early NZFC and O-League games.
* Two players from the New Zealand Under-17 team have landed the chance of a lifetime in being offered trials in England. Striker Chris Wood is already on his way to spend time at West Bromich Albion, Everton and Millwall, while goalkeeper Jacob Gleeson is to have a week, from October 28, at Everton followed by a week at Manchester United.
Wood, 15, has been given his chance after discussions between Hamilton Wanderers coach Roger Wilkinson and British contacts. Wood was watched while playing for New Zealand at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Korea.
Despite watching 13 goals find their way into the New Zealand goal, Gleeson, 17, who plays for Wellington's Western Suburbs, impressed scouts in Korea sufficiently to win himself a shot at the big time.
* Concerns over the condition of the ground in Port Vila could lead to a change of venue for New Zealand's opening World Cup qualifier next month. New Zealand are scheduled to play Vanuatu away on October 17, but there are now doubts that the ground will meet the criteria.
NZ Football chief executive Graham Seatter said he had put a number of proposals to the Oceania Football Confederation and hoped to have an answer by Monday.
A decision on where New Zealand's World Cup home matches - against Vanuatu, Fiji and, next year, New Caledonia - will be played should be known next week.
* New Zealand and Denmark go into tonight's second-round clash at Fifa's Women's World Cup in Wuhan, China, citing it as do or die.
For the Danes it is a must-win after losing a controversial first game 3-2 to the hosts. For the Football Ferns, credibility is again at stake after a first-up 5-0 loss to heavyweights Brazil.
"We have to shift the emphasis," said NZ coach John Herdman.
"It will be a miracle for us to get a result but that won't stop us trying. We have to be mean and hope we can snatch something. We need to play as well as we did for the first 45 minutes against Brazil but without squandering the possession we do win."