"And losing 8-0?"

That response alone should be the end of Andreas Heraf's tenure as the Football Ferns head coach.

New Zealand went down 3-1 to Japan in front of a record crowd at Westpac Stadium but it was the manner in which they went down that raised eyebrows.

A 5-4-1 formation meant that right from the outset, attack wasn't on the cards from a talented Football Ferns side and they paid the price for a lack of offensive penetration.


Normally a loss like that would be disappointing for the coach. But apparently Heraf missed that memo.

He wore a smug smile throughout the post-match press conference that belied a disappointing defeat.

His comments flew in the face of everything New Zealand sport stands for. He was defeatist.

"We will never have that quality to compete with Japan and even be better than Japan. That's not working," he said.

"[Japan] have I think 127 million people in [their] country, we have 4.5 million, so there must be a difference. There is more money, more facilities, better coaches in the country. The gap is that big, so for that I think we tried to do our best and the girls have done that."

This, from your head coach and the overseer of the entire high performance programme in New Zealand, is unacceptable.

New Zealand, being a relatively small country, is always going to have a smaller group to choose from. But to use that as an excuse, when other codes don't or won't, is poor form.

You can look at what the likes of Mike Hesson (cricket), Mark Sorenson (softball) and Mitch Brown (Zoi Sadowski-Synnott's snowboarding coach) have achieved in sports with limited playing groups just by backing their charges and instilling a winning belief.

You can't blame the players here. They were executing a game plan that a coach with no idea what the New Zealand public yearns to see.

Heraf also shot back at a question from a reporter suggesting he was starting his tenure from a negative mindset.

"What would you prefer?," he replied.

"To try and play some football?," was the response.

"And losing 8-0?," Heraf responded.

On that 8-0 hypothetical - the Football Ferns have never lost by that sort of margin to anyone in more than 150 international outings.

The worst loss to Japan was a 6-0 humbling, but that was a Football Ferns side who hadn't played an international in two years.

In fact, the last six games they've taken on Japan they've had a 2-all draw at the 2008 Olympics, four 2-1 defeats (including one at the 2011 World Cup) and a 1-0 defeat.

That's only 11 conceded goals in six matches. Heraf would like you to think either Japan have increased exponentially or the Football Ferns have taken major backwards steps.

Saying they'd lose 8-0 if they had provided any semblance of attacking intent is disingenuous and, honestly, ignorant.

Japan are ranked 11th in the world, just nine spots ahead of the Football Ferns. That's not the biggest hill to climb.

The Football Ferns have been nothing but great ambassadors for both the sport, the public and equality. They epitomise what it means to be a New Zealand representative.

However they are being let down by a coach that needs to go.

There is no place at the highest level for a coach that doesn't believe in his own players' ability to compete. Members of the Football Ferns play in the toughest football competitions globally.

Heraf doesn't understand that the New Zealand public would rather see their team fight for an unlikely victory than accept defeat before the opening whistle and go into their shell.

The players and their supporters deserve far better than what Heraf just mustered.