Melbourne Victory speedster Kosta Barbarouses says qualification to Russia 2018 for the All Whites could really kick things off in New Zealand.
Barbarouses is coming back from All Whites duty, playing 71 minutes in their 2-1 loss to Japan in Aichi last Friday.
It means the 27-year-old will play his first game this season in the Melbourne Derby after missing Victory’s 1-0 loss to Sydney FC at home last week.
In a week that has had international football the main talking point, and there were possibilities New Zealand would have played Chile or Argentina, it is confirmed they will face off against Peru to decide if they go to Russia.
Barbarouses, who has been to the Confederations Cup and Olympics, said it was his dream to play in a World Cup.
“I was seeing it both ways, it would’ve been good to have (Lionel) Messi or (Alexis) Sanchez in Wellington,” Barbarouses said.
“I’m not going there just to experience a play-off, I’ve already had that. It was a loss to Mexico four years ago.
“I want to go all the way and get to a World Cup which is a very tough thing for the All Whites to get to.”
While the Kiwi was doubtful a professional league would come anytime soon in New Zealand, he said qualification to Russia could mean big things for his country.
“Australia did well after the 2006 World Cup, launching the A-League,” he said.
“We possibly had that opportunity after 2010 but for whatever reason we didn’t capitalise around the excitement and buzz around the game then.
“It might possibly take getting to this World Cup for something like that to happen but I can’t say it’s close to happening to be honest.”
Barbarouses is also coming back for his second-stint at Victory after enjoying a second campaign at his home club Wellington Phoenix.
The Kiwi explained his decision in coming back to the club.
“I think the other thing is there are only nine other teams you can pick from, if you play in the A-League for 15 years I think you run out of options pretty quickly,” Barbarouses joked.
“I think the way it’s all documented that the club is set up really well and the facilities, coaching staff are great.
“They always seem to attract good quality players, it’s just an attractive place to come where you know there are expectations to win and that’s what I love personally.
“I’d like to think I’ve kept improving, I think coming back into the Victory squad. I know my role here very well. I’m relying on my past experience here, they’ve changed things a little bit since I’ve been gone but things have really clicked since I’ve been back.”