FORMER All Whites coach Ricki Herbert has been unveiled as the new head coach of the Maldives.
With a minuscule population of just 345,000, the Maldives are ranked 177th in the world, and Herbert is set to link up with the national squad after their 3-0 loss to China yesterday.
This is Herbert’s first gig in charge of a national team since departing as All Whites head coach, where he led them to their undefeated World Cup group stage in 2010.
Formerly Wellington Phoenix head coach for nearly six years, Herbert’s other coaching roles outside of New Zealand have been with North East United in the top Indian Football League, where he won three games out of 14 before leaving in December 2014, and Papua New Guinea Under 23’s.
His appointment with the Maldives came after the resignation of Bulgarian coach Velizar Popov just after six months.
Although they have minnow status on the World stage, Maldives have punched above their population size recently, with their biggest loss in the past two years being yesterday’s defeat at the hands of China.
They have also picked up three wins since Herbert’s former national side – the All Whites – have last won, with the Maldives beating Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan in that two-year time frame.
Herbert’s first game in charge will be against Bhutan next month, as the Maldives continue their 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualification.
Published by NZ Herald, September 9, 2015