Football is the most popular sport in the 5 - 17 age group in New Zealand
. However, the media (television, radio, newspapers) concentrate on the more traditional New Zealand
pastimes of rugby union and cricket. In 1982, the national team qualified for the FIFA World Cup in Spain, and, having won the continental championship, represented Oceania at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1999 (Mexico) and 2003 (France). The U-17 team qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Championship in 1997 (Egypt) and automatically as hosts in 1999. However, New Zealand
has not produced many international stars. The name of just one player has any true meaning, especially in Europe: Wynton Rufer. He played for many years in Switzerland and Germany, before returning to New Zealand
to coach the Football Kings in Auckland and help develop football in his home country. Today, Rufer has a range of varied duties, including membership of the FIFA Football Committee.