9 Sep 2008

All Whites to wear white arm bands

6:05 am on 9 September 2008

In a unique twist on a traditional sporting tribute, the All Whites will wear all white armbands during tomorrow's match against New Caledonia to honour Charles Dempsey, the 'father of Oceania football' who died in June.

Wearing their new alternate strip of black shirts, the players' white armbands will honour Dempsey's lasting contribution to football, both in New Zealand and in Oceania - a Confederation he was instrumental in founding in 1964.

Dempsey - already an accomplished football administrator when he took a new role as director of New Zealand's 1982 World Cup Campaign - was a driving force behind funding the All Whites successful bid to reach the World Cup finals in Spain, with a place finally clinched by a 2-1 win over China in Singapore.

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert - a member of that famed 1982 squad that captured the hearts of the public through it's 15 match qualifying campaign - says white armbands are the perfect way to celebrate Dempsey's legacy.

Herbert says Dempsey was inspirational in providing international opportunities that led to New Zealand playing on the world's biggest stage.

New Caledonia will join in the tribute by wearing traditional black armbands, while Dempsey's daughters Josephine and Alice will be present at North Harbour Stadium to witness the players and crowd observe a minute's silence before kick-off.

The match kicks off at 7:30 with New Zealand having already clinched the top spot in Oceania.