A roll call of current and former New Zealand internationals have today been unveiled as Ambassadors for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 kicking off in just under four months time. The announcement coincided with a civic reception at Auckland’s Queens Wharf where Ivan Vicelich (one of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Ambassadors) and his Auckland City team were honoured by Mayor Len Brown for their success at last year’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup, which brings together the 24 best countries from around the world in this age group, will showcase three weeks of breath taking action from 30 May. Footballing superstars Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, James Rodriguez and Sergio Aguero have all shot to prominence in this event down the years.
Five of the seven regional ambassadors announced today were members of the successful All Whites squad that competed at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, while another, Dunedin-based Mike McGarry, is rated as one of New Zealand’s greatest ever football talents.
The Regional Ambassadors are:
Northland – Andy Boyens
Auckland – Ivan Vicelich
WaiBop – Aaron Scott
Central – Glenn Moss
Capital – Mark Paston
Mainland – Ben Sigmund
South – Mike McGarry
The two National Ambassadors have also both competed at World Cup finals for New Zealand. Wynton Rufer was voted Oceania Player of the 20th Century, winning numerous titles during his career with top German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, while current All Whites captain, and 2010 team member, Winston Reid is excelling in the English Premier League with West Ham United.
Dave Beeche, CEO of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 says the list of ambassadors is impressive and they have already played major roles in the preparation work for this major event.
“Each Ambassador has been working hard promoting the tournament in NZ, having participated in last year’s nationwide Trophy Tour and other significant milestone events. We are fortunate to have such high profile support for the tournament,’ said Mr Beeche.
After a busy few months that has seen him lead Auckland City to third place at the FIFA Club World Cup, being awarded the trophy for third best player at the event and receiving acknowledgement for his career in the New Years Honours list, Ivan Vicelich says the U-20 World Cup is another huge boost for New Zealand football.
“FIFA tournaments don’t come much bigger than this and I am excited by what lies in store in May and June. Football is buzzing in New Zealand with the recent success of Auckland City, the Phoenix performing well in the A League and opportunities opening up for more and more players to make a career out of the game.
“I can’t wait for the tournament to start and I would urge people to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to watch football of the highest quality and be able to reminisce that they once saw a future superstar of the game in the flesh.”