Ben Cabango - Wales v Czech Republic

International round-up | Jamie Searle makes senior debut and Ben Cabango earns fourth Wales cap

30th March 2022

It proved a busy window for Swansea City's international contingent as a number of them saw action for their countries.

Goalkeeper Jamie Searle made his senior New Zealand debut last Thursday, Ben Cabango earned his fourth cap in Wales’ friendly against Czech Republic while youngsters Cameron Congreve and Joel Cotterill shone for Wales Under-18s.

Searle was named as one of seven changes made by the All Whites as they faced New Caledonia for a place in the Oceania World Cup qualifying semi-final.

There was plenty to be proud of for the Swans man - who was part of New Zealand's Olympic squad last summer. Despite conceding to a fine strike which just evaded him at full stretch, he had a comfortable evening in the net.

The Kiwis eventually cruised to a 7-1 win to set up a semi-final with Tahiti.

Jamie Searle in lines up in New Zealand team photo
Photo: OFC Media

The 21-year-old didn’t feature in the semi-final or final but a 1-0 win in the former and a 5-0 win over Soloman Islands in the latter mean they will take on the Concacaf fourth-placed team in June for a spot in Qatar.

Cabango was on the bench for Wales’ historic victory over Austria in the World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final, but started and played the full 90 minutes in Tuesday evening’s friendly against the Czech Republic, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Olivier Ntcham was left out of the matchday squad for Cameroon in their two-legged play-off against Algeria.

The Indomitable Lions fell to a 1-0 defeat in their opening match at home, but won 1-0 in 90 minutes in the second leg to send the tie to extra-time

The additional half-hour provided a thrilling end to the contest with goals for both teams in the dying minutes of extra-time, but it was a stoppage-time strike from the visitors that saw Ntcham’s side book their place in Qatar.

Ryan Manning - Ireland

Ryan Manning was named among the substitutes for the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Belgium. He came off the bench with 10 minutes remaining in a match which ended 2-2, before he played 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Lithuania on Tuesday evening.

Nathanael Ogbeta played the full 90 minutes as England Under-20s lost 2-0 to Poland, before playing nearly an hour of their second fixture as they beat Germany 3-1.

A number of Swansea youngsters, meanwhile, saw plenty of action in the Welsh youth representative age groups.

Cameron Congreve Wales U18s
Photo: FAW

Congreve - who recently signed a first professional deal at the club - was a key figure in Wales Under-18s’ victory over Finland. He put in an excellent individual display and scored two goals in the impressive 4-2 victory.

Fellow Swans youngster Joel Cotterill started on the bench in the first match but he was given the armband for the second friendly against the Finnish side. He put in a captain's performance popping up to score an equaliser with the final kick of the game as it ended 2-2.

Joel Cotterill
Photo: FAW

Dan Williams and Wales Under-21s had a challenging first match of their Euro qualifying campaign, suffering a 5-1 defeat away from home to group-leaders Switzerland.

However, it was a much-improved performance against Belarus at Rodney Parade on Tuesday afternoon. Williams went close to an opener midway through the second half, but was thwarted by a good save before the match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw. Lewis Webb was on the bench for both games.

There was also game time for Ben Lloyd, Seb Dabrowski and Daniel Watts, who all featured for Wales in Euro Under-17s Elite Round games against Slovenia, Turkey and Serbia.