All Whites ready for World Cup challenge
When Dr Ceri Evans, clinical director of the Canterbury Regional Forensic Psychiatry Service in New Zealand, sends an e-mail, seven sets of initials marking his various academic and medical qualifications follow his name.
But there is no clue that the 46-year-old father-of-three has had time to squeeze a whole extra life in between studying at medical school and his current job, treating criminals with mental disorders.
A football-mad teenager when New Zealand qualified for the 1982 World Cup, Evans became captain and was a regular central defender in the national side until 1993 while playing five seasons in England for Oxford United. He is currently a part-time youth coach of the Mainland Academy.
As you would expect, he is methodically analytical when discussing the All Whites' hopes for 2010 - he was at Wellington's "Cake-Tin" stadium last November when victory over Bahrain achieved their second World Cup qualification.
But there is much else to discuss with a man who is still fondly remembered by Oxford fans as a vital component in the side which frequently over-achieved in the post-Robert Maxwell era, marshalling the defence alongside players like Andy Melville and Steve Foster.
Despite being born and raised in a country where athletic endeavour is generally geared towards rugby union, with an occasional summer sideline in cricket, Evans was steeped in football from a young age.
Father Gwyn played for Crystal Palace, and young Ceri would order copies of Shoot! magazine, which arrived three weeks late, via surface mail. He began playing in New Zealand's national league at 16 but was just a fraction too young to feature in the squad which qualified for Espana '82.
However he has fond memories of the historic qualification for that tournament, only the second time (following Australia's appearance in 1974) that the World Cup had featured a side from Oceania.
"There were so many games to qualify for 1982, two separate groups and then a play-off against China," he says. "There was a sort of storybook quality to it, and some dramatic moments because there were so many tight games home and away."
"It was tremendous in terms of the profile within New Zealand of the players, and people started to know most of the side. They're still well-known for what they did.
"When they qualified for the second group they had to beat Saudi Arabia in Riyadh by more than six goals and were 5-0 up at half-time. But they didn't score any more so ended up facing a play-off in Singapore against China. Wynton Rufer scored a fantastic goal [the second in a 2-1 win played in front of 60,000 mainly Chinese-supporting fans] and they were off to Spain."
Former New Zealand star Wynton Rufer in his pomp at Werder Bremen
Though New Zealand lost all three games in the World Cup finals a few months later, Rufer, a 19-year-old striker, was unleashed onto the global stage - and went on to have a significant professional career in Switzerland, and then in Germany's Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.
Evans reaches for the superlatives when describing a player who he would count as a team-mate on many occasions.
"He was an extraordinary talent and will be our best player forever. One of the stories I heard was that when Franz Beckenbauer was West Germany coach he said that if Wynton had been German he would have been in line for selection. That's how good he was."
After 1982, there was a surge in interest among young New Zealanders for football. "They all had their local heroes and they could see the All Whites could play on the world stage," says Evans.
Nevertheless, they have had to wait 28 long years to achieve their second World Cup finals spot, and this time fans expect big things from Blackburn Rovers captain Ryan Nelsen, a 32-year-old central defender who is also skipper of his national side.
Interestingly, Evans says the fact Nelsen commands a lofty Premier League wage - the like of which must seem like pure fantasy to many New Zealanders - has helped raise his profile back home as much as his actual performances.
But the doctor adds: "He deserves all the plaudits he gets. He's a good Christchurch lad, well respected because he's clear about his roots, is true to his roots and speaks openly and frankly about things.
"I was there when New Zealand qualified in Wellington. It was an incredible night which engaged New Zealand again and made heroes, and that night Ryan was immense.
"He's the emotional heart of the side, he's a leader of men. There are other good players in the side but he's the defining one and the one that holds them together. He was so strong and so clever in his play. Without him it's questionable as to whether we would have qualified."
Ryan Nelsen blocks a Bahrain free-kick on the night New Zealand progressed to the 2010 finals
Evans was left wondering whether that night last November might have provided the best atmosphere ever witnessed at a sporting occasion in New Zealand.
"It was an extraordinary night," he says. "A rugby crowd are far more stoical and don't sing and don't generate the same atmosphere."
Occupying the same position in central defence as Nelsen does now for the All Whites, Evans was signed by Oxford United in the final weeks of the ill-fated coaching regime of Mark Lawrenson, in 1988-89.
Oxford were coming to terms with life in Division Two after three heady seasons in the top flight, and Evans had just won a Blue at Oxford University, where he had gone to study on a Rhodes scholarship.
He enjoyed his time enormously at the club - once his team-mates had got over the shock they were sharing a dressing-room with a qualified doctor who was also a university student.
"A few of them didn't really believe I was a doctor. I was a bit different in that way, but sport has a way of transcending things anyway so you just get on with the football and earn your respect that way," he says.
"I was coming home each summer and playing for New Zealand in the off-season.
We played the full England side twice out there, Gary Lineker and all that crew."
By 1993, Evans was still playing well for Oxford, but turned down the offer of a new contract from manager Brian Horton and headed home to New Zealand.
"I was 29, wanting to specialise, knowing that was going to take about five to 10 years. To do that you have to think about the training you have to do and the hours you have to put in so you have to weigh these things up. I decided it was only realistic for me to go back to New Zealand."
Since then, the other side of his life has blossomed. In Christchurch, his day-to-day job includes running prison clinics for patients with mental disorders, and assessing whether people are mentally fit to stand trial. He is also called on as an expert witness in trials.
Not that the football side of his life has been forgotten: "I've got two boys, 13 and 12, who are mad keen about football. I coach at the academy my boys are in, several evenings a week."
Given his background, he is also getting "more and more requests" to help out on the high-performance side of youth coaching at a national level, particularly with the mental aspect.
So how does he assess New Zealand's likely performance in South Africa?
Evans is candid: "Every other team wanted to draw us. We're not the most technically advanced side but we will be capable, tactically well-versed and the coach Ricki Herbert has shown a certain strategic acumen to get past Bahrain and other sides.
"If things go our way we've got the capability to score goals and we've certainly got the capability to defend. Every match is a two-horse race. You impose your rhythm on another team and don't know what might happen.
"If we concede early it could be tough, but if the top players are fit and injury-free, if the other team's not playing particularly well, then we are good enough to create a few opportunities, and with a couple of pieces of skill you never know."
Rank outsiders for the World Cup they may be (some bookmakers rate them 3,000-1 no-hopers), but after a 28-year wait for a second shot at the big time New Zealand will not want to fire blanks.