New Zealand Football’s newly-appointed general manager of high performance, Gareth Jennings, already has some insight into the challenges facing Kiwi national teams.
In his role as head of technical leadership for FIFA, Jennings has studied the barriers to success for small nations, including New Zealand.
In fact, he uses New Zealand as an example in a lengthy interview with Infinite Sport’s YouTube channel, recorded in May 2020.
Jennings says that while New Zealand has a good record at age-group World Cups, the challenges escalate for the full national teams. These include distance from competitors and the lack of an elite national competition, he says.
Here’s the online interview with Jennings, and his reference to New Zealand:
About Gareth Jennings
NZ Football announced Jennings’ appointment in July 2021 with the following information:
Jennings worked as Academy Director during Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League winning season, where he oversaw the team become the number one side in the league for minutes by homegrown players.
Following The Foxes, Jennings became Academy Director for Stoke City where he saw 10 academy products make their debut and 12 players represent their country.
Most recently, as Head of Technical Leadership for FIFA, he is responsible for the development of all Technical Directors, High Performance Directors and Coach Education Managers globally.
As a coach, he holds the UEFA Pro and A Licence and previously worked as Coach Educator for The FA. Prior to moving into coaching, Jennings played professionally in England as well as spending a season living in the Whangaparoa Peninsular, Aotearoa New Zealand.
New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said:
“I’m delighted to welcome Gareth to New Zealand Football. He has an outstanding track record for developing talent at the highest level, working with globally recognised teams. He has the highest levels of football experience, is very well connected internationally and also knows Aotearoa, having played here, and that combination made him the stand-out candidate for this role.”
Jennings, who will start his role in September 2021 after completing MIQ protocols, said: “I am very pleased to be joining NZ Football and returning to New Zealand. There is huge potential to grow and compete on the world football stage, and I am honoured to have been given this great opportunity.”