8 Oct 2009

Nelsen fit to play as All Whites focus on big prize

9:51 am on 8 October 2009

The All Whites medical staff have cleared captain Ryan Nelsen to play in the New Zealand footballers' World Cup qualifier in Bahrain.

The Blackburn Rovers captain took a full part in the second training session today in Dubai and has now been given the green light to lead the team out against Bahrain on Sunday.

Nelsen missed Blackburn's 6-2 defeat at Arsenal on the weekend with a niggly back injury.

The mood in the New Zealand football camp ahead of Sunday's crucial World Cup play-off is a little different than normal, according to All Whites assistant coach Brian Turner.

But considering what's at stake, the veteran of Spain 1982 isn't surprised at all.

The All Whites are in Dubai preparing for the all-important first leg at Manama in Bahrain, with the decisive second leg back in Wellington on November 14th.

Wednesday began the same as the first day of the camp, with a short sharp training session under the full force of the late morning Dubai sun.

Turner says the mood is positive and there's a quiet buzz throughout the group but the focus among the players has reached a new level.