How did the renaissance of football happen for New Zealand? 

If you aren't busy playing Kiwi Pokies online, you could just watch some of the great Kiwi football matches to find out.  

New Zealand has always been big in sport. It is considered to be one of the biggest sports hubs around the world. Along with cricket and rugby, they also have a known as the ‘All Whites’. 

Origin of New Zealand Football 

Since the middle of 19th century, different types of football were introduced to New Zealand by the British. But at the inception of football in New Zealand, there was no particular code that was dominant over another. The team sizes, along with the shape of the balls, even used to differ from one game to another. 

The first games officially for the Kiwis to be officially recorded were in the late 1900s. 

Early Clubs of New Zealand 

In the early 1880s, different local Football clubs and associations started forming. In 1882, for instance, there was The Canterbury Association Football Club hosting what is regarded as the first club match there - one between Christ College and other local teams. 

In 1886, you had the Devonport’s North Shore Club established. Today, it is among the oldest club of the country. 

Within just seven years, by 1887, New Zealand made huge progression in Football with 13 clubs. In 1891, The New Zealand Football Association was founded. And after that, the entire football scenario changed in the country. 

International Entry 

During the 1920s, New Zealand had 460 clubs with approximately 6,000 players. In 1922, New Zealand played its first international - against Australia - and won. It became the popular team sport for men, right after cricket.

In 1948, The New Zealand Football Association became a part of FIFA. 

The rise of football in New Zealand

From 1970 onwards, several factors contributed to New Zealand’s growth in the international football scene including the introduction of a national league, significant growth in the number of players including women and children, but the biggest turning point was qualifying for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. 

Popularity at its Height

In 2010, New Zealand played in the FIFA World Cup where they drew every match despite being in the group stage with the likes of Paraguay, Slovakia and Italy. They even managed a score draw against Slovakia and Italy. 

The current All Whites team is ranked 133rd in the world and missed out on this year's World Cup after an intercontinental play-off against Peru.

The women's team is ranked 20th in the world. They made the World Cup the first time in 1991, and have qualified for every tournament since their traditional rival, Australia, moved from Oceania Confederation to the Asian Confederation in 2006. 

More recently, the New Zealand Football Association was re-named to New Zealand Football. There are today 500 clubs and eight national teams playing in several FIFA men’s, age group, women's, outdoor and also indoor forms of the game. 

Categories: People | Football Life

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