Plymouth Argyle striker Ben Waine is gearing up for a hectic summer filled with international football commitments.

Ben Waine is set to play a pivotal role in New Zealand’s international football calendar, with an anticipated participation in eight matches before Plymouth Argyle kicks off their 2024/25 Championship campaign in August. The 21-year-old striker has secured a spot in the All Whites’ roster for the OFC Nations Cup, slated to be held in Fiji and Vanuatu starting June 15. With 13 senior international caps already under his belt, Waine is also likely to be enlisted for the men’s football event at the 2024 Olympics in France, commencing in late July.

New Zealand will begin the OFC Nations Cup with Group A games against New Caledonia on June 15, Solomon Islands on June 18 and Vanuatu on June 21. All of those matches are to be played at the 6,500-capacity VFF Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Group B consists of Fiji as well as Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tahiti. The top two nations from each group will qualify for the semi-finals on June 26, with the final taking place four days later.

The All Whites have won five of the previous 10 editions of the OFC Nations Cup and at 104 in the FIFA World Rankings they are the highest-placed competing nation this year. All games can be watched live and free on FIFA+.

New Zealand head coach Darren Bazeley said: “This tournament is a really important competition for us and forms part of a big year starting with the OFC Nations Cup, followed by the Olympics and the start of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.

“The timing of this Nations Cup has made it quite difficult to select this final squad. Over the last month, I have spoken to all of the players around their personal situations, with some of our potential players still mid-season, some coming off the back of long European seasons, and some in various personal or contract situations.

With the Olympics also being so close to the Nations Cup, with them being pretty much back-to-back tournaments, we have had to take that into consideration as well, managing player club and country commitments.

“This is a strong All Whites squad, with a large number of young under-23 players who will be part of the Olympic campaign, so having this time together is a real benefit leading into Paris 2024.

“We now regularly monitor over 60 professional players who are all in the All Whites mix showing the strength in depth we are building, so for this Nations Cup squad we have delved into our depth and it is an opportunity for players to push themselves forward and stake a claim for regular selection.

It is really exciting to see some of our younger players receive their first call up, it is a great opportunity for them to taste senior international football. What we need is to be playing as many games as possible which is why this competition, with challenging international games in quick succession, is great for our development.”

New Zealand have been drawn against host nation France, Guinea and the United States in the men’s tournament at the Olympics,

Their first game will be against Guinea in Nice on July 24 and their other two group matches will be played at the Stade de Marseille, against the USA on July 27 and France, who will be coached by former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, on July 30.

The top two nations from each of four groups will advance to the quarter-finals on August 5, with the semi-finals three days later and the gold medal match on August 9. Argyle will begin their Championship campaign that weekend.

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