OPINION: Ricki Herbert's new contract extension keeps him in charge of the All Whites until the end of the World Cup in 2014.
Since the success of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the All Whites have played only a handful of fixtures and have failed to win a single one.
So, was it a wise decision by New Zealand Football to re-sign Herbert, or should they have wiped the slate clean and gone with somebody fresh?
Despite a few opinions to the contrary, for me it was a no-brainer – NZF made the right call.
Assuming we progress through the Oceania stage of 2014 World Cup qualifying, it would be counter-productive to bring in somebody new so close to the all-important playoff games against our Concacaf [Central and North America] opponents.
A new style and approach to the game takes time to adapt to.
Under Herbert, the current squad of players all know their roles and Herbert's expectations, as well as Herbert knowing their strengths and weaknesses.
Add to that his successful track record when it comes to not only qualifying for the World Cup, but exceeding expectations when his team gets there, and it would seem that it was a foregone conclusion Herbert would be at the helm well into 2014.
Meanwhile, even though Ryan Nelsen has left Blackburn Rovers, New Zealand still has a strong presence at the club with 18-year-old Tim Payne. The Aucklander has settled well into his new life and has now got a handful of youth and reserve team games under his belt.
Adapting to the extremely competitive environment that is professional football, and surrounded by people from different walks of life is a massive challenge for someone so young. But Payne is coping well.
An FA Youth Cup quarterfinal against Newcastle United is something that will whet his appetite, being only a couple of games away from the prestigious final is truly exciting.
The next 18 months will see massive physical, technical and mental development for Payne. There will be highs and lows in that time, but he will undoubtedly be a different player at the end of that period.
At that point he will have a further year left on his contract and it is then that I'd expect him to start making a real impact.
Danny Hay is a former All White.
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