COMMENT

Dear Abby,

Thanks but no thanks.

Yes it's lovely, and timely, that you've put your hand up (again) to be part of the Football Ferns, only this time no.

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You've had your time Abby. Twice. And you've chosen to forego the privilege of playing for your country. Twice.

Which is 100 per cent absolutely fine. I respect your decision(s). But there is no third-time lucky available here. Or at least there shouldn't be.

Obviously the significance of this being a FIFA World Cup year isn't lost on you.

Your ever-so carefully crafted PR machine has put all the right heartfelt messages in all the right places, I get all that. And then I still can't help but say "so what?"

Being World Cup year, the biggest stage, no better place for any player to advertise their wares to potential new suitors, I get all that too - not that that aspect of it has ever have crossed your mind of course.

Because the only, let me repeat, only reason you've decided to come back (again) is your undying commitment to the team's cause blah blah, your utter selfless dedication to the national interest etc.

Just to let everyone know what has actually gone on here. Abby retired the first time from the Football Ferns because of differences with New Zealand Football about their serious lack of support for the women's game. She then re-retired last year because of that idiot masquerading as a coach called Andreas Heraf.

Football Ferns' Abby Erceg in action against Colombia in 2016. Photo / Photosport
Football Ferns' Abby Erceg in action against Colombia in 2016. Photo / Photosport

As I said earlier, two decisions that were as sound as they were selfish. And I mean selfish in a good way. Professional athletes, by definition, make these sorts of calls based entirely on what's best for themselves.

Just ask Ryan Nelsen who himself chose not to play some 20-odd games for the All Whites before (coincidentally) becoming super keen again when that glorious World Cup campaign started getting momentum.

Look, don't get me wrong, I love Nelsen and what he did for us - I'm just telling the rest of the truth here.

When Abby decided to ditch last year she also left all her Football Ferns teammates in the lurch to fight the good fight without their best and most influential voice. All those young women were left to fight Heraf risking their international futures with no guarantee of success.

It was a very big move and thank goodness it paid off.

In my humble and irrelevant opinion, those same women deserve to now play at this year's World Cup because they are the ones who qualified us and they are the ones who stood up for what's right.

So, I for one don't welcome the prodigal daughter back. Not one bit.

Dear Abby, to quote John F. Kennedy: "ask not what your country can do for you..."