Headed to national champs

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Queenstown’s Wakatipu High School pupils are preparing to compete against some of the country’s best secondary school football teams in a national tournament.

The team, comprising students from year 10 to 13, will travel to Christchurch this weekend ready for the start of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Boys’ Football – Lotto Premier Tournament on Monday.

With Queenstown AFC coach Jamie Whitmarsh on hand to support the boys in their quest for victory, the team’s also backed by a long list of local sponsors.

Whitmarsh says the boys’ commitment to training over the last four or five months has been “excellent”.

“Next week will be a real acid test.

“We are under no illusions – it will be really tough.

“The boys have given themselves the best chance to succeed.

“We are still a very young team and are building on last year’s success.”

The team will play in the top tier of the tournament for the first time in six years after reaching the semi-finals in the second tier of last year’s competition.

More than 30 school teams are competing this year.

Last year’s winners were Hamilton Boys’ High School.

The tournament runs from Monday to Friday and games will be played at Avonhead Park and Christchurch Football Centre.