2 Jun 2009

All Whites trio in doubt for Tanzania

7:07 pm on 2 June 2009

The seventeen-year-old West Bromwich Albion football striker Chris Wood may make his New Zealand debut against Tanzania on Thursday, after three players went down with a stomach bug

The virus is hampering the All Whites preparations for the Confederations Cup tournament and captain Tim Brown, defender Tony Lochhead and goalkeeper James Bannatyne may all miss Thursday morning's warm-up match at Tanzania's National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

With Celtic striker Chris Killen and US-based quartet Andy Boyens, Duncan Oughton, Simon Elliott and Jarrod Smith only joining the team in Africa the day before the game, All Whites coaching staff are likely to hold them back until Sunday morning's match against Botswana.

And with Ben Sigmund not expected to be ready for match action until next week's final warm-up against World Champions Italy, the potential loss of Brown and Lochhead could leave All Whites coach Ricki Herbert with just two outfield players on the bench.

Every member of the 23-man squad should get game time in their first two warm-ups before fielding something resembling a first choice 11 against Italy, just four days ahead of a Confederations Cup opener against Spain on June 15th.