Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz will spearhead New Zealand’s Olympic campaign as one of their three mature age players, with other Hyundai A-League players featuring heavily within the Olympic squad.
Smeltz will be joined as a mature age player by Central Coast Mariners’ assist king Michael McGlinchey and All Whites stalwart Ryan Nelsen.
Also representing the A-League in the squad is Melbourne Victory player Marco Rojas and Wellington Phoenix youngster Cameron Lindsay, the latter on standby for the tournament.
The Kiwi Olympic side will have plenty of experience though, with 13 players who have been capped at the top level named in the side including former Roar player Kosta Barbarouses.
Team coach Neil Emblen was confident his squad had what it takes to challenge at the tournament.
“It’s a small squad for a tournament of this stature which means there were some very tough decisions to make but I feel the group selected gives us some tactical flexibility as well being pretty exciting,” Emblen said.
“The over age players give us a good balance and experience down the spine of the team - we’ve been able to pick the All Whites premier defender, first choice midfielder and most prolific striker even though those players aren’t required to be released by their clubs.
“Then you throw in the likes of Smith, Barbarouses, Wood, Rojas and Gleeson and the team core has got a good solid look to it, but we’ll need every single member of the squad to be at their best against some very tough teams.”