New Zealand is a former British colony located in the Pacific Ocean. The Island nation is famous for producing exceptional athletes in sports like rugby and cricket. Football, though not as popular as the aforementioned sports, also has its fair number of supporters. The land of the Kiwis may not have enjoyed much success in the round leather game, but that hasn’t stopped them from producing some exceptional players of note. Today we take a look some of the best players that New Zealand has ever produced.
Here are the 5 greatest football players to have played for New Zealand.
1. Wynton Alan Rufer
The former New Zealand international is one of the best players the Oceanic nation has produced. Wynton was a striker who played many years for various club sides in Europe. His most prolific spells were with Swiss side FC Zurich and Germans Werder Bremen, where he scored 43 and 59 goals respectively. Rufer also impressed with the New Zealand national team scoring 12 times in 23 appearances. One of such goals helped seal New Zealand’s qualification for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Wynton was thrice named the Oceania footballer of the year (1989, 1990,1992)
2. Ryan Nelsen
Ryan is a former New Zealand international defender. The tough-tackling centre-back scored 7 goals in 49 appearances for the All Whites. Nelsen, also helped them win two Oceania Nations Cup titles and qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In club football, Ryan is often remembered for his time at English side Blackburn Rovers FC where he made 172 appearances over a 7-year period.
3. Vaughan Coveny
Vaughan is a former New Zealand international who featured for the All Whites from 1992-2006. He is New Zealand’s all-time highest goal scorer, with 28 goals in 64 appearances. Coveny played most of his club football in New Zealand and Australia. He was named New Zealand’s young player of the year in 1992.
4. Chris Wood
Chris is a 29-year-old New Zealand international. The striker has so far scored 24 goals in 57 appearances for the All Whites. Woods has featured for numerous clubs and currently plays for English Premier League side Burnley FC. On 25 April, Chris Wood scored his first hat-trick for Burnley, as the won 4–0 in a Premier League win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. He became the first New Zealander to score three goals in a Premier League match.
5. Ivan Vicelich
Vicelich is an ex-New Zealand international who featured for the All Whites between 1995-2013. The defender holds the record of the highest number of caps for New Zealand, having featured 88 times. Ivan played for various club sides, especially in the Netherlands and his home country New Zealand. Ivan was named the Oceania footballer of the year in 2009.