The name James Bannatyne might ring a few bells, the former All White represented New Zealand 🇳🇿 in the 1996 Summer Olympics qualifiers, where New Zealand fell agonisingly short of booking their ticket to Atlanta, Georgia 🇺🇸 – missing out on goal difference to Australia. The tournament saw Nigeria 🇳🇬 🥇 take Gold ahead of Argentina 🇦🇷 🥈 and Brazil 🇧🇷 🥉 – an Argentinian side featuring Javier Zanetti, Diego Simeone and Hernán Crespo, and a Brazilian side featuring Rivaldo, Ronaldo “The Phenomenon” and Roberto Carlos!
James also represented New Zealand at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa 🇿🇦 , which was won by Spain 🇪🇸
It cannot go unsaid however, and there is almost no way to describe the miracle tale of the All Whites’ achievement, a team projected by many not to attain even one point in Group F, the All Whites ended the tournament as the only undefeated team after drawing their three group matches, finishing ahead of defending World Champions, Italy 🇮🇹
Now retired from playing, James has found himself still committed to dominating the 18-yard-box and beyond through his new business and football venture, INGOAL. A goalkeeper specific, football coaching and personal development movement, INGOAL has connected with Olé Football Academy for 2017 with the introduction of Isaac Tetteh to the Olé coaching staff.
Whilst on his recent visit to Olé this week, James was very kind with his time to join us in a special Q&A, where we go a little deeper into the fascinating tale of this remarkable New Zealander.
To the untrained ear, James Bannatyne might not be a name that strikes a chord, so who is James Bannatyne?
It’s been a real journey! From junior football with Petone in the 80’s and 90’s with a healthy dose of other sports such as rugby, yachting, cricket and good natured scrapping with my two older brothers set me up for a life long love of sport and combat.
I played senior football with Petone, then National League with Miramar and the New Zealand U-23 Olympic team in 1996 with players like Mark Paston, Simon Elliot, Ivan Vicelich, Danny Hay, Mark Burton, Jonathan Perry, Che Bunce and Sean Fallon among others, and coached by Bobby Clarke who was a fantastic coach for us all.
Unfortunately, I ruptured an ACL at this time which scuppered my dream of a US College Scholarship so Victoria University of Wellington it was for a marketing and business degree. Following that I was off on an overseas experience – a ski season in the US was followed by some time in London where I found my love of football again. I played in a non-league side and ending up spending a couple of months with West Ham (which featured Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard at the time!) which really ignited that passion.
From London it was back to NZ with the goal and desire to make the Football Kingz (prior to Phoenix and Knights) via Miramar again and my first All Whites call up. For the next few years I was on the fringe of the All Whites but kept at it in our National League with Canterbury United and Team Wellington.
A Glen Moss suspension opened the door for my inclusion in the home and away World Cup qualifiers with Bahrain 🇧🇭 the night we qualified at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in November 2009 will always be a special moment for the sport in this country. Then it was off to the World Cup!
Since then I have focused my time on coaching goalkeepers with work for FIFA, Oceania Football and NZ Football. An opportunity arose with Red Bull to join their global football project as a GK coach in Ghana which was an amazing experience and one where I met Isaac Tetteh, who is now obviously with Olé. Following the Ghana experience a 12 month contract working on the FIFA U-20 World Cup in NZ which was great and highlighted my passion to be working with our next generation of goalkeepers.
I was rooming with Declan Edge on the NZF/OFC A-Licence and we discussed the Olé project and goalkeeping – things moved pretty quickly from there with Isaac now calling Porirua home. I had managed to get Isaac to NZ in July last year, he was playing and coaching in Hamilton so he was an obvious choice.
What was the experience like attending the 2010 FIFA World Cup, both in the moment as a player and as you look back on your development as a person?
I remember training alone with Mark Paston in Wellington, often at Olé prior to going into camp – we struggled for a venue with council would you believe – but Olé was always available which was cool. The World Cup was a blur, we were so focused on getting a job done – one game at a time. We had some downtime obviously between games to rest and recover and as a team we were very, very tight. Our three GK’s, Mark Paston, Glen Moss and myself will always have great memories of all those special moments.
So what exactly is ‘INGOAL’ and why did it come about?
INGOAL I try to keep simple. Our vision is “Enabling careers and world experiences through Goalkeeping excellence”. It’s about providing GK coaching and GK coach eduction to the highest standard.
Our reason, or our WHY is simple too. Delivering the best experience for goalkeepers so they can set and strive for their goals. It’s not always been that easy for GK’s and we are trying to improve that every day.
How have you been received by the football community and public?
We have been received really well and are now starting to building a larger team of good people.
Where do you see INGOAL in the New Zealand football community, now and in the future?
Now we are just scratching the surface. In 2 years and beyond we will have a recruitment process with the best young GK’s coming to Olé. Other GK coaches and GK’s working around the country because they love goalkeeping and are good people that are passionate about development.
What are your thoughts on Olé, the opportunity and collaboration?
Olé are very professional and committed to football and player development. Not satisfied with worlds best practice, Olé are constantly challenging how we can do things better and produce players for how the game will look in the future.
The collaboration and partnership with Olé is very exciting. We now have the opportunity and environment to identify and develop the right people, both GK’s and GK coaches within the proven Olé model. It’s not going to be easy and there will be lots of challenges, but challenges are the best ingredient to learning.
And finally, perhaps the all too generic and cliché, if you were a teenager again, what is something you would start doing right now?
In short it would be setting a compelling vision and stay committed to it, based on individual values and principles. Embracing the challenges and successes through the journey.
Thank you all for taking the time to read through this Q&A with James, and if you see Isaac around make sure you say hello and introduce yourself!