Ricki Herbert to coach PNG U-23s

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FORMER All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has been named coach of the Papua New Guinea U-23 squad which will contest the Pacific Games in July.

OFC and PNGFA President David Chung says Herbert brings with him a wealth of experience that will be crucial to Papua New Guinea’s campaign to win gold at home.

“Not many around the world have been to two FIFA World Cups, especially in the Pacific region. But he has done that both as a player and a coach,” Chung says.

“Ricki has this quality and he has also coached other teams in the Pacific so his experience of island football and knowledge of the other competing countries will be a bonus for our preparation.”

Herbert was a member of the All Whites squad which qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and he also coached New Zealand at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa where they remained unbeaten in the group stage.

Herbert’s appointment comes five months out from the Pacific Games and he will be able to glean some inside knowledge from assistant coach Reginald Davani and coach mentor Milan Miric who worked with the 2014 Papua New Guinea U-20 squad.

First on the agenda for the team is a camp at PNGFA Academy in Lae from 16-19 March, with 30 players set to attend. They will leave camp bound for Solomon Islands where several international friendlies are scheduled including against 2015 OFC Champions League participants Western United FC.

Published by NZ Herald, March 5, 2015