World Cup challenge for Wally Hughes

December 30, 1976
A former Liverpool man has been given the job of taking New Zealand to the World Cup Finals in the Argentine in 1978. Wally Hughes emigrated to New Zealand almost four years ago after professional experience with Liverpool and Sheffield United.

Now the 42-year-old Hughes, who was chief coach to the Auckland F.A., has been appointed to the top job in New Zealand soccer. And he has until March 20 to get his squad into shape. On that date New Zealand play their first qualifying match against Taiwan. Australia, who reached the 1974 finals in Munich, are the other team in the qualifying group.

To prepare for the matches Mr. Hughes will assemble his full squad in Auckland on January 30 for fitness tests. Then they will get together again the following month to complete their preparations.

Mr. Hughes replaced Barrie Truman as national coach when the Auckland F.A. took over New Zealand’s World Cup campaign. Said Mr. Hughes: “We are going to have a different attitude. We have been negative in the past but this time we will be positive and aiming high.”

He added: “My ultimate aim is to reach the last 16 of the competition and that means we have to win the Oceania group qualifying games first.”

Dates for New Zealand’s matches have been settled, and both ties against Taiwan will be at home on March 20 and March 23. They play Australia in Sydney on March 27 with the return in Auckland on March 30.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 30, 1976; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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