In 2004 when the A League began New Zealand Footballs FIFA world ranking was 88. Conversely Australia's was 84. In 2006 Australia moved into the Asian Federation. New Zealand stayed put in Oceania. Sure we made the WC round in South Africa in 2010 and Aussie did too, but then after the WC we were handily placed at 49, our best ever ranking, Aussie were 20th. In the latest rankings, Aussie are 36 and we are 79.
So who has gained from the A League and moving confederations? Obviously Australia. For so long now I have agonised over the place the Phoenix holds in our footballing endeavours. They, like the Warriors, supply the bulk of New Zealand Football teams, but the real stars in that football team don't play for the Phoenix, they're playing for clubs around the world. So do we have to believe that we pick Phoenix players just to make up the numbers? What about our club football players, do they get a chance?
Well yes, Herbert picked a couple of up and comers in the last match (probably his last as manager) so then
So what then for NZ Football? Is Oceania giving them the competition they need? Sadly yes. Just ask New Caledonia and in that same competition the Solomons ran them close. Better performed Pacific Nations teams or a reflection on the sad quality of New Zealand football? And remembering that team was largely made up of Phoenix members.
It's fair then to say that the A League has NOT benefited New Zealand Football. And New Zealand Football needs to change both at international level and local level to follow Australia's rise in the rankings and to both maintain that ranking and to secure more "friendlies" to help keep that ranking fluid. Those millions being sucked up by our A League team in my opinion would be better placed running a viable regional competition exposing many more players than we currently see in the Nix. And of course to buy overseas competition to come to our shores and we to theirs.