Promoted from his role as New Zealand Soccer's tec' />

Former All Whites defender Ricki Herbert is the new coach of the New Zealand men's soccer team.

Promoted from his role as New Zealand Soccer's technical director, Herbert, 43, has been charged with the task of leading the All Whites out of the international wilderness.

Under former coach Mick Waitt, they were eliminated from the Nations Cup in Adelaide when they lost to Vanuatu. Herbert was assistant coach in that tournament, a role he held since 2003.

A winner of 89 All Whites caps and also having played professionally for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Herbert is a relatively inexperienced coach internationally.

He coached the New Zealand under-17 team to a disappointing third place in the Oceania qualifiers of the 2003 world championships.

He was relieved of the head coaching responsibilities for the New Zealand under-23 team, and replaced by then All Whites coach Ken Dugdale, in 2000 for the Olympic Games qualifiers against South Africa.

But Herbert coached the under-23s to the two-legged Olympic qualifying series final against Australia last year, losing 1-3 on aggregate.

He is part way through gaining his UEFA A coaching licence after having already qualified to the highest level in New Zealand with the international team coaching licence.

Herbert said he was honoured by his appointment.

" It is a responsibility I take very seriously and one I take on with the same pride and commitment I displayed whenever I wore the silver fern as a player," he said in a statement.

"I am also acutely aware of the need to rebuild the All Whites after a disappointing 2004. The next few years offer a chance to do just that and to lay a solid foundation for future success.

"This is not about Ricki Herbert, this is about the team and what they mean to the success of our game."

Herbert would not be drawn on who his assistants may be or his captain, other than to say he had clear thoughts on both.

However, he was prepared to name three senior players he saw as being key to the future success of the team -- Ryan Nelsen, Ivan Vicelich and Danny Hay.

Herbert is the first New Zealander in the role for at least 47 years who was not born in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

That has been the heritage of the last 11 New Zealand coaches -- Waitt, Dugdale, Joe McGrath, Keith Pritchett, Bobby Clark, Ian Marshall, Kevin Fallon, Allan Jones, John Adshead, Wally Hughes and Barrie Truman. But only McGrath, Clark and Truman had not coached in New Zealand before their appointments.

- NZPA