Herbert to stand down after World Cup campaign

Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:35am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has backtracked on earlier denials he was ready to call it quits after the All Whites' 2014 World Cup campaign and said on Tuesday he would step down when they are eliminated from contention.

The 52-year-old, who is preparing his team to face Mexico in the second leg of their playoff for a place at the 2014 finals in Brazil, had said earlier in the day no decision had been made about his future.

However, New Zealand Football (NZF) later issued a statement saying Herbert had informed them he would step down from the job he has held since 2005 after the All Whites' campaign ended.

Mexico won the first leg at the Azteca 5-1 last week and the All Whites must score at least four goals at Wellington Regional Stadium to have any chance of advancing.

Herbert's tenure with the team will end on Wednesday if they fail to do so.

"On behalf of everyone associated with football in New Zealand, I thank Ricki for his remarkable dedication and his wonderful contribution to our game," NZF Chairman Frank van Hattum said.

"Naturally, Ricki and the team remain 100 percent focused on the task at hand tomorrow night in Wellington: our attempt to secure a berth at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil."

Van Hattum had already said the organization would likely advertise the All Whites' job should their World Cup hopes disappear on Wednesday.   Continued...

New Zealand's coach Ricki Herbert (R) and technical advisor Raul Blanco attend a training session for the team's 2014 World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match against Mexico in Wellington November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Anthony Phelps