Six Nix called up to Ferns for Olympic qualifying tournament

Half a dozen Wellington Phoenix players have been named in the Football Ferns for their upcoming Olympic qualifiers in Samoa.

Club captain Annalie Longo, fellow midfielders Kate Taylor and Macey Fraser, defenders Michaela Foster and Mackenzie Barry and goalkeeper Brianna Edwards have been included in the 24-strong Ferns squad for the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament, which starts next week.

All six have played influential roles for the Phoenix through the opening 14 rounds of the 2023-24 Liberty A-League, with the team sitting just one point outside a finals berth.

Longo, who is New Zealand’s fifth most capped international footballer, is attempting to help guide the Football Ferns to their fifth straight Olympics and her fourth.

Foster, Taylor and Barry have featured regularly for the Football Ferns over the past year and played in their most recent matches in Colombia in early December, while Fraser and Edwards are in line to make their senior international debuts in Samoa.

The sextet will join the Ferns in Apia after Sunday’s round 15 A-League match against Newcastle Jets in Newcastle and will miss the Phoenix’s next match against Western United on Sunday, February 18 unless the Ferns are knocked out of the tournament early.

New Zealand will play Tonga in their opening match next Wednesday (February 7) before playing Samoa and Vanuatu in their other group games on the following Saturday (February 10) and Tuesday (February 13).

The semi-finals are scheduled to be played on Friday, February 16 with the tournament decider on Monday, February 19.