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Rojas to link up with Oly Whites

Published: 8:59AM Friday March 16, 2012 Source: Fairfax

  • Marco Rojas (Source: Photosport)
    Marco Rojas - Source: Photosport

The headline act at the Oceania Olympic qualifiers, Marco Rojas, is yet to meet some of his New Zealand under-23 team-mates.

However, the quality of the players that Rojas knows gives him confidence that the hosts will be pencilling London into their calendars after the final in Taupo tomorrow week.

"I think we've got a pretty good team and as long as we play to our best ability, I think that we should be OK," Rojas said. "But we have to know that it's going to be a tough week and, hopefully, everyone is ready to play the games and to do well."

The Melbourne Victory star will play against the Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park tonight before hopping on a plane and joining the Oly Whites' camp tomorrow.

"I will play in the Tonga game on Tuesday and just go from there," Rojas said. "It's a prestigious tournament, the Olympics, so to be able to play in that would be special for me.

"I know most of the guys from the under-20s team, so I'm looking forward to catching up with the guys that I know and getting to know the ones that I don't."

New Zealand kickoff their campaign today against Papua New Guinea, who are coached by former Socceroos mentor Frank Farina.

"I'm sure Frank Farina's time with Papua New Guinea has made them more tactically astute and given them a better defensive shape given his experience in international football," New Zealand coach Neil Emblen said.

"It'll be a tough game and while we know a couple of their players, the difficulty in this first fixture is we don't know a lot about them as a team. We'll do our homework over the first two match days and be ready to do the job when we play again on Tuesday."

New Zealand are likely to field a back four of Ian Hogg, James Musa, Michael Eagar and Adam Thomas today. However, Emblen is still deciding whether to start late arrivals Jake Gleeson and Greg Draper.