All Whites Midfielder Te Atawhai Hudson-Wīhongi has his sights set on the Confederations Cup in June after suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury late last year while in training for his Auckland City FC club.
With his ACL on the mend, Hudson-Wihongi is optimistic about being fit to travel to Russia where the Confederations Cup will be hosted by the European country, but rehab remains the priority.
"Rehab-wise I probably just need to build the muscles in my legs so that if something happens again, obviously cause it's a replacement ACL so it won't be as strong as the original one, so I have to build the muscles up in my legs. So if anything happens, the muscles fire and stop my knees dislocating again,” says Hudson-Wihongi.
The Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi descendant, who last played for the All Whites in November against New Caledonia in the Confederations Cup qualifier at QBE Stadium in Auckland, would like another chance to pull on the White jersey when The All Whites head to Russia.
Hudson-Wihongi says, "It would be a dream come true. It's an honour to put on that white shirt at any level, and then especially on the world stage at the confederations cup would be unbelievable. I'm aiming to be back by then, being optimistic."
The road to Russia in the next few months for All White hopefuls is crucial as there are many games that will be played in the lead-up.
"There are qualifiers in March against Fiji home and away. So, there will be a squad named for that and then prior to that they have a pre-confederations cup tour," say Hudson-Wihongi.
Photo Credit: Auckland City FC