16 Nov 2009

NZ Football won't repeat past mistakes

10:15 am on 16 November 2009

New Zealand Football is confident it will not repeat the mistakes of 27 years ago and is determined to make the most of the All Whites qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The All Whites beat Bahrain 1-0 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday to become just the second New Zealand side to qualify for the world's biggest sporting event.

New Zealand last competed at a World Cup was in Spain in 1982.

New Zealand Football says development of the game in this country will be the legacy of the All Whites making the finals.

Chief executive Michael Glading is confident past mistakes will not be repeated, saying the administration then was on an amateur footing and there is a much greater understanding of what is required.

Mr Glading says prize money from the sport's governing body FIFA for Saturday's win will be used wisely, with the focus on development for young players and international programmes.

He told Morning Report that New Zealand's share from FIFA will be in the vicinity of $9.4 million and is to be split between the players and New Zealand Football.

"Obviously it gives us a windfall which is going to be spent certainly over the next many years, not over the next 12 months. I think that's our main message going forward."

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert, who played in the 1982 side, says it is vital for New Zealand Football to cash in on the team's success.

Quality warm-up matches are needed ahead of the tournament and investment in young players is vital so New Zealand can make regular World Cup appearances, he says.

Mr Glading says there are only two chances open to New Zealand to play warm-up games before the 2010 World Cup, as it is difficult securing the services of their European-based players beforehand.

Twenty-five out of a possible 32 teams have now qualified for the World Cup, with African sides Cameroon and Nigeria also confirming their places at the weekend.

The draw will be made in Cape Town on 5 December.

SPARC money 'well spent'

Government sports funding agency SPARC contributed $200,000 towards the successful campaign and says it was money well spent.

However, its general manager for high performance sport, Marty Toomey, says with limited resources it does not make a habit of handing out funds to major teams.

Mr Toomey says with a big payday in store from Fifa, New Zealand Football can now look after itself, and the key now is for it to best spend the money so there is a legacy for future teams.

Mayor keen warm-up game in capital

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the council will talk to Football New Zealand about the All Whites playing a warm-up match in the capital before the World Cup.

Ms Prendergast says it would be a good opportunity to give coach Ricki Herbert and his players the recognition they deserve.

She says the 35,000-strong crowd which turned out for Saturday's match proves Wellington is a football town.