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Emblen appointed New Zealand U23 coach

Waitakere United coach Neil Emblen is now responsible for the New Zealand U-23 side as it bids to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. The former Wolves, Walsall, Norwich and New Zealand Knights player will take the reins of the Oly Whites for March's qualifiers in Fiji.

But Emblen will likely be without most of his overseas-based rising stars - clubs are not required to release players for the qualifiers - and will rely instead on players drawn from the ASB Premiership and American Universities.

"There'll be different conditions as well in Fiji," Emblen said.

"I've been lucky enough to coach teams away in the Pacific and it's a tough programme when you go overseas. The elements and conditions are against you a little bit but I'm confident that with the quality of the ASB Premiership boys and the lads from the US we can go over there and qualify for London.

"I want to make some of these players from the Olympic team into All Whites. As well as qualifying, it's an important part of my job to help players break into the international scene and playing in the Olympic Games next year would be a great way to do that."

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Dave Williams

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