NZ U23 qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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New Zealand will now have two football teams at the Olympic Games next year after the U-23 men’s national team joined the Football Ferns in booking a ticket to Tokyo.

The Des Buckingham and WPSS director Hiroshi Miyazawa coached side had dominated the qualifying tournament in Fiji and underlined their superiority in the final, overcoming the Solomon Islands 5-0 to deservedly earn regional bragging rights and secure an Olympic berth in the process.

The sides had met in their final group game last Friday and it was a thriller on that occasion, the Kiwis triumphing 4-2 in an absorbing encounter. They again found the net multiple times at Churchill Park in Lautoka but the Solomons could not get close to them this time and the outcome never looked in doubt.

WPSS graduate Billy Jones rounded off a fine campaign for both himself and the side with the fifth and final goal of a tournament that saw the New Zealanders record a 100% record.

WPSS graduate Billy Jones

WPSS graduate Billy Jones

WPSS were well represented on the pitch at the final whistle with Jones, Rob Tipelu and Jake Porter all on the park at the end of 90 minutes.

It is a special victory not only for the nation but also for Miya who will now get the opportunity to represent NZ at an Olympic Games in his home country of Japan.

Well done to everyone involved from everyone here at WPSS.

Leigh Kenyon