Sam Malcolmson: Clean-out time as oldies let All Whites side down

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Ricki Herbert. Photo / NZPA
Ricki Herbert. Photo / NZPA

Ricki Herbert was loyal to a fault and was let down badly by too many players in the humiliating defeat by Mexico.

The All Whites coach hung on to players no longer good enough for international level, although one who can be excluded from that is goalkeeper Glen Moss who was my man of the match - from both sides - with four or five world-class saves.

We were outpaced, out-fought, out-thought in all areas and it wasn't even a great Mexican team. For whatever reason, the All Whites were failed by totally inadequate preparation. New Zealand Football said it was lack of money, but they'll have even less missing the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Part of this poor preparation was the result of the unforgivable loss to New Caledonia in Honiara which robbed the All Whites of three matches against top-class opposition in the Confederations Cup, and sent a few million dollars down the drain.

Barring a miracle, Herbert will call it a day after the return game in Wellington following a long tenure in which he'll always have the 2010 legacy.

I can't see an overseas coach wanting a part-time position, leaving Neil Emblen the front runner. But there is no rush to make the appointment.

NZF needs a permanent chief executive, and why not go the whole hog and look at the performance of the board, which is autocratic rather than democratic. Whatever the future, the byword has to be change.

But before we go too far with the post-mortem, the All Whites have an Everest to climb in Wellington, where they must restore some pride. There will be forced changes with Leo Bertos, Chris Wood and Ivan Vicelich out because of yellow cards, but this is the time to phase out the old guard and give our youngsters a start, along with Shane Smeltz if he's fit. Youthful exuberance can be a wonderful thing.

I'd bring in Storm Roux for Bertos, Ben Sigmund for Vicelich, Chris James for Jeremy Christie and Bill Tuiloma for Tony Lochhead. If there is a silver lining, we can now focus on our team for the under-20 world championships to be held here in 2015, and the under-23s for the 2016 Olympics.

I really hope a big crowd turns up on Wednesday night to back the All Whites. It will also be a chance to thank Herbert and the senior players for what they achieved in the past four or five years, and usher in the new guys.

- NZ Herald

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