All Whites coach rejects foreign offers

WELLINGTON, July 13, 2010 (AFP) - New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert, who guided his unheralded side to three defiant draws at the World Cup, declared Tuesday he has rejected a host of lucrative offers to move overseas.

Herbert confirmed he had been tempted by big money contracts from European, Asian and African clubs after the All Whites drew with Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia to finish one point away from qualifying for the last 16.

"One or two were hard to turn down but I'm very comfortable with my decision," he said.

He was possibly the lowest paid manager at the World Cup, only earning about 35,000 US dollars a year as All Whites coach on top of his salary as manager of the Phoenix in the Australian A-league, but said loyalty came before money.

"At the end of the day it's not all about money for me.

"It's loyalty -- people may say sometimes the grass may be greener but I don't think it is."

Herbert said he had unfinished business to attend to and confirmed he would remain with the Wellington-based Phoenix for three more years from this season.

New Zealand Football was also happy for him to continue his dual role as Phoenix and All Whites coach which had operated for the past three years.

"I have agreed to continue on for the next period for the World Cup (in Brazil 2014) and there's just some fine tuning" to be done by the Pheonix and New Zealand Football.

Herbert played in the 1982 All Whites -- the only other New Zealand team to make the World Cup finals -- and did not want to see a repeat of the way the game collapsed in New Zealand after that performance.

"The (post) 1982 collapse for whatever reason, political, ego, that's the last thing I want to see," he said.

"I think what we have created needs to continue, albeit things offshore can be more attractive et cetera, I think I weighed that up with where we have taken the game (in New Zealand) and where we can continue to take that to."

Herbert said he also wanted to take the Phoenix to win an A-league grand final and get the All Whites to Brazil in 1014.

"To go to back-to-back World Cups would be great -- that's another massive challenge." 

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