New Zealand has potential for second A-League side, claims Barbarouses


All Whites star Kosta Barbarouses believes the FFA shouldn't turn its back on New Zealand, claiming his home country has what it takes to support two A-League teams.

The structure of the A-League and potential expansion have been hot topics in Australian football in recent months, with the future of the New Zealand based A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix also in the spotlight.

The Phoenix's A-League licence is set to expire in 2020 and there is growing uncertainty around the Kiwi side's place in the competition moving forward.

New Zealand based teams have a chequered history in both the A-League and its predecessor the NSL, starting with defunct Auckland based sides Football Kingz and New Zealand Knights.

Despite this, Kiwi speedster Barbarouses is bullish on the future of professional club football across the ditch and is adamant that not only that the Phoenix can thrive, but also a second New Zealand based A-League franchise. 

"The support base is there (in New Zealand). Yes it could be a bit better, but there is potential for another team in either Auckland or Christchurch," he said.

"It has to be done right. It's been done in Auckland before but from what I've heard they didn't do it the right way.

"It would be great I think. A lot of players go over to Wellington and do well for themselves. It doesn't take away from the opportunities for Australian players if that is what people are worried about." 

The Phoenix were admitted to the A-League in 2007 after the New Zealand Knights were cut from the competition by the FFA.

Barbarouses started his career with Wellington in 2010 and has played 46 games for the club over two stints.

While he accepts it hasn't been plain sailing for the club, the now Melbourne Victory attacker insists the FFA shouldn't give up on the Phoenix. 

“I think Wellington adds a lot to our league," he said.

"On-field stuff at the end of the day is what counts and I think they’re on the right track to doing that, not for a lack of trying."