Another Kiwi for Phoenix

WELLINGTON Phoenix have added another Kiwi to their playing roster – but he’s not a new signing.

WELLINGTON Phoenix have added another Kiwi to their playing roster – but he-s not a new signing.

Daniel Cortes was born and raised in Brazil but he-s now officially a Kiwi after gaining New Zealand citizenship on Monday.

The talented 29-year-old midfielder, a favourite with football fans in Wellington and throughout New Zealand since joining the Phoenix for their inaugural campaign in the Hyundai A-League in 2007/08, has now set his sights on representing his adopted country at international level.

“I-m very excited about the opportunity to play for the All Whites in the future. It has taken time to do all the paperwork to get citizenship and I-m very happy that it-s finally been sorted out.”

Daniel-s All Whites- aspirations now rest with Fifa, with varying opinions about how long he will have to wait to become eligible.

“I-m not sure how long the stand-down period will be. I-ll have to wait for [All Whites and Phoenix coach] Ricki Herbert and New Zealand Football to find out. But it-s more important for me to have my New Zealand passport now and then wait and see what happens.”

Whatever happens, Daniel is simply stoked to be a Kiwi. His wife and baby son are set to follow suit and obtain New Zealand citizenship shortly.

“I love the country, I love Wellington and I love the people. I want to stay here for a long time and I-m very excited about the opportunity for myself and my family.”

While Daniel-s unlikely to forsake the samba for the haka, he admits he-d like to learn how to perform the traditional Maori challenge.

“I think I will have to do some practice – maybe quite a lot!”