Earlier this year we withdrew from the U19 Qualifier against AUS primarily due to insufficient committed player numbers and the short timeframe for fundraising to cover the cost of the trip.
Subsequent to that we had hoped that the host would be Australia and had communicated that to the Clubs and interested players. If AUS were to be the host they would have had automatic entry and we may have had an opportunity to qualify as the other Oceania team. In preparation for that we have been working with Coach Vaka to determine if we had sufficient interest and commitment to mount a campaign to participate.
With the World’s being hosted in Mexico that opportunity is now removed.
The process for qualifying in Oceania is an elimination series against other regional IFAF Members. At this time there are only two fully qualified IFAF members - AUS and ourselves. The other nations, American Samoa and Tonga, are not full members. The U19 World’s are held every two years so the next opportunity to qualify will be in 2019, with this most likely being a Qualifying game vs Australia in Australia. Given the learnings from the most recent qualification round, NZAFF will begin planning for this potential campaign in early 2018 to ensure adequate time for planning, fundraising etc to give our young players the best opportunity to participate in this global event.
Timeline of NZAFF activity:
4 July – Memo to clubs
Announcing the decision that the NZAFF board has decided to withdraw the New Zealand team from the Elimination Series through insufficient numbers, short timeframe for funding to cover the cost of the trip.
28 July – Memo to clubs.
Announcing a meeting of those interested in participating on the assumption that AUS would be hosting the event and that we would probably qualify as a result of AUS being the Host and NZL being the only other full IFAF member in Oceania.
20 August – Meeting held with prospective U19 Members
A registration of interest for U19 players was sent out and players were invited to a meeting where the possibilities were discussed.
22 November – IFAF Announcement
IFAF announce that Mexico is the host therefor removing the possibility of NZL qualifying. Further that the Host is no longer automatically a qualifier for any tournament so removing the possibility of a second team from a region being able to qualify.
Any questions can be directed to Russell McConnochie, NZAFF's General Manager (GM@nzaff.co.nz)