21 Nov 2013

Departing Herbert says All Whites need tougher challengers

5:48 am on 21 November 2013

The All Whites coach Ricki Herbert, who's stepped down after eight years in charge, has urged New Zealand Football to organise more matches against higher-quality opposition and continue to lobby for the Oceania winner to join Asia's final qualifying group, or to follow Australia into the Asian region.

Herbert ended his association with the All Whites after last night's 4-2 loss in the second leg of their inter-continental playoff in Wellington, but the outgoing coach says he's looking forward to buying a ticket for the 2018 World Cup to watch a pretty talented team.

Herbert says they have youth on their side with three players on the field last night aged 18 to 20, and a group of others no older than 25, including the current captain Winston Reid, last night's stand-in captain Tommy Smith, and the Europe-based Marco Rojas.