Herbert distances himself from Mariners role

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Herbert portraitFormer All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has distanced himself from speculation that he’ll be the next head coach at A-League club Central Coast Mariners.

“It’s flattering to be linked with high profile coaching roles but I’m happy to stay in New Zealand,” Herbert says.

Australian media have been tipping Herbert as the favourite to get the job with Mariners after the sacking of Tony Walmsley this month.

Herbert’s record of reaching the A-League finals three times in six years on a tight budget, and his unbeaten campaign at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals with the All Whites, ensures his name continues to be linked with international roles.

The 55-year-old coach returned to New Zealand in July after a 14-match stint in charge of the Maldives national team which saw the small Indian island nation rise 20 places in FIFA’s world rankings.

“Since I left the All Whites and Phoenix roles, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of coaching in different parts of the world but I’m keen now to re-establish myself in my home country,” he said.

Over the past three years, Herbert has worked for FIFA’s technical committee at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, coached North End United in the fledgeling Indian Premier League and taken Papua New Guinea’s U-23 team to a bronze medal at last year’s South Pacific Games.

“I’m enjoying being back in New Zealand and am working on a few football opportunities that will provide the challenge I need,” he said.

One of his priorities is the continued growth of the Ricki Herbert Football Academy which now has nine talent development centres in New Zealand and regularly sends teams overseas to help promising young players learn the game.

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