Queenstowner Georgia Brown has overcome health woes to make the New Zealand under-20 women’s football squad.
Brown, 18, has been named in the Junior Football Ferns squad to play the Oceania World Cup qualifying tournament in Auckland from January 16-21.
Also in the squad is Invercargill-based Queenstown Rovers striker Mary Fraser, 17. Fraser was the top scorer in the Southland Premier Women’s competition after notching an incredible 54 strikes in just 16 games.
The girls are two of just four South Islanders to make the squad.
Brown, who plays on the right wing, says she was “really nervous” about her fitness after missing half the season this year due to a long bout of pneumonia.
“I had to have massive surgery,” she says.
“I had my tonsils out, my adenoids removed and interior nose surgery because I couldn’t breathe out my nose.”
Brown, who’s represented Otago and Southern under-age teams, captained her Dunedin St Hilda’s Collegiate team to ninth place in the NZ women’s secondary school football tournament this year.
If, as expected, NZ wins the Oceania tournament, it will advance to the under-20 World Cup in Uzbekistan, near Afghanistan, from August 18 till September 9 next year.
Brown says selection for the Oceania tournament doesn’t guarantee a place in the World Cup squad.
To improve her chance she’s shifting to Auckland, where squad training camps will be held.