20 Nov 2013

Herbert ready to call it quits

11:06 am on 20 November 2013

The head of New Zealand football says it was Ricki Herbert's decision to announce before the match against Mexico that he would be stepping down as All Whites coach.

Herbert has said he will quit after more than eight years in charge of the national men's side. His contract expires at the end of the current World Cup campaign, which is likely to finish on Wednesday if the All Whites fail to overturn a 5-1 deficit against Mexico.

Mexico have all but assured themselves a place in Brazil next year, on the back of their win in Mexico City last week. New Zealand need to overcome a four-goal deficit in the second leg qualifier at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Herbert stepped down this year as coach of the Wellington Phoenix during their dismal season.

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme Herbert wasn't forced into announcing his intention to step down.

He said the coach wanted to get that information out so everyone could then focus on Wednesday's game, which was a testament to his character.

Mr van Hattum said Herbert had rejuvenated the game and should not be judged just on the performances of the past year.

He said the All Whites produced magical moments, such the team's undefeated World Cup campaign in 2010, under his watch.

"Any sports team will have its ups and downs and there's been a few of those but overall, I think, when you look at it, there's been terrific progress."