Herbert's 'zero accountability' worries former All White
Can Ricki Herbert continue to juggle his Phoenix and All Whites roles?
Danny Hay insists there is no bad blood between he and Ricki Herbert.
But the former All Whites captain is speaking out against a culture of "zero accountability" within New Zealand Football in the wake of the failed Oceania Nations Cup campaign.
NZF chief executive Grant McKavanagh yesterday said he was "comfortable" with Herbert continuing to coach both the All Whites and the Wellington Phoenix in addition to serving as New Zealand's technical adviser at the London Olympics.
NZF will undergo a standard tournament review involving players and management over the next fortnight to ascertain what went so badly wrong in Honiara.
Herbert has said he wouldn't do anything differently if he had his time again while McKavanagh reiterated "we're committed to Ricki through to 2014".
Hay – a former Leeds United defender and now a teacher and coach at Auckland's Sacred Heart College – said the situation smacked of "laziness".
"There's certainly no personal vendetta, jeepers, I've worked with Ricki and there's certainly not any bad blood there," Hay said.
"For me it's just about actually trying to move forward as a footballing nation and there's some areas of concern. Ricki's been given this mandate of carte blanche and it seems to me there's zero accountability, there's zero questions as to why he's doing particular things. He's got his fingers in all the pies, the Phoenix, the All Whites and now the under-23s as well. There's got to be some sort of accountability. But it doesn't seem to be that sort of scenario, coming from the front office."
Hay said there were many reasons why the All Whites performed with distinction at the 2010 World Cup and the coaching of Herbert was one of them.
But he believed juggling jobs between club and country had caught up with Herbert and there was a need for new voices and fresh ideas.
"It's humanly impossible to do all those jobs to the degree they need to be," Hay said.
"It's a little bit scary that you've got one person dictating all the ideas and there's nothing fresh coming through. He's got tactically lazy and to play three at the back in Honiara was horrific in those conditions, with the type of players we had available to us."
Hay made it clear he was not after Herbert's job but was speaking out as a passionate football person who wanted to see the sport reach its potential in New Zealand.
"Two years ago we'd captured the imagination of a nation and what have they done since? Frank van Hattum [NZF chairman], Fred de Jong [NZF board member], Grant McKavanagh, they're allowing this to happen. They're the ones that really need to have a good, long, hard look in the mirror and say hey, this is just not good enough."
McKavanagh said he was aware of the level of frustration and disappointment among Kiwi football fans but believed no-one was hurting more than NZF or the All Whites themselves.
"We don't have a God given right to win these tournaments anymore, as we've seen through the O-League," McKavanagh said.
"So on any given day in football, if you're off five per cent and someone's on five per cent, you're going to have a bad result. We need to sit down and go through the process and understand what worked, what didn't and make sure we step up five per cent next time."
The All Whites will play World Cup qualifiers against Tahiti, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands in September, October and March.
The winner advances to play the fourth-ranked Concacaf team for a place in Brazil.
McKavanagh joked Kiwi conditions might prove as problematic for the island nations as Honiara's had for the All Whites.
"Around September there's some beautiful snowy mountains in New Zealand."
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- The Dominion Post
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