FORMER Oxford United coach Des Buckingham is celebrating after steering New Zealand to a gold medal at the Pacific Games.

His side scored twice after the 85th minute to come from behind and beat New Caledonia 2-1 in the final.

Buckingham, from Cowley, took a young squad as preparation for the Olympic qualifiers in September.

And the success will have strengthened his status as a candidate to take over the senior All Whites side, which is vacant.