PROMISING young Waitakere United and Fiji striker Roy Krishna will spend two weeks with Wellington Phoenix to get a taste of a professional footballing environment.
Krishna will join the Wellington-based Hyundai A-League club from May 5 at the invite of Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert.
The invite to the 20-year-old is part of the Phoenix-s commitment to growing football in New Zealand and in helping identify and develop talented young players.
“This is a great opportunity for the Phoenix, Waitakere United and Roy,” said Herbert. “Also, from a broader perspective, it-s an opportunity for all New Zealand Football Championship clubs to have the chance to send promising players to a professional football club to spend time in a professional environment and understand the demands of football at that level.
“In Roy-s case it-s a chance for a player that has done exceptionally well at Waitakere and for Fiji to further learn and develop.”
Herbert said the plan was solely to foster talented young players, with Krishna not viewed as a potential new recruit.
“We-re looking forward to working with Roy. He-s not coming here to be signed but who knows what the future may hold for him as far as A-League opportunities are concerned.
“This is the first real step in having a player come to the Phoenix from the NZFC environment and it-s very exciting for everyone involved. We-re looking forward to developing mutually beneficial relationships with NZFC clubs around the country.”
The NZFC has shown itself to be the premier competition for the development of young players and Herbert is keen for the Phoenix to be involved in that.
“The talent pool of young players emerges through that competition and we believe it would be of benefit for young players to spend some time here with us so everyone can understand the potential that a player may have.”
With the Phoenix not participating in the new Australian Youth League competition, the club sees the “internship” programme as a valuable development tool.
“It-s a different avenue which is a very positive step and one that could offer significant rewards for everyone involved,” Herbert said.
Waitakere United chairman Rex Dawkins was delighted that Krishna had been invited to spend a fortnight in Wellington with the Phoenix.
“Roy is a player of prodigious talent and one we are pleased to have on our books at Waitakere United. It is clear, however, that he is destined for higher honours and a bigger stage in the long term.
“Our discussions with Ricki and the Phoenix were general in the sense of providing opportunities for promising young players but quickly focused on that chance for Roy. They [the Phoenix] are our professional outlet in New Zealand and if we are to promote young players out of the NZFC then we must forge strong relationships with them.”
Following his two-week stint with the Phoenix, Krishna will return to play out the winter season with Waitakere City before turning out in the next NZFC season for Waitakere United. He is ineligible for Waitakere United-s current O-League campaign, having been signed outside the transfer window for that tournament.