Danny Hay has turned down the chance to re-apply for his role as head coach of the All Whites, meaning he leaves the job on October 31.
NZ Football announced Hay’s departure in a statement, and released details of an independent debrief of the All Whites’ last FIFA World Cup campaign.
NZF chief executive Andrew Pragnell said: “While Danny was offered the opportunity to reapply for the position, we respect his decision not to put himself forward and wish him the best of luck with whatever he chooses to do next.”
READ MORE: Danny Hay — ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure’ >>>>
Pragnell said a replacement head coach would be announced as soon as its recruitment process had been completed.
‘A lack of alignment between All Whites staff and NZF’s high-performance department’
The NZF statement says:
“Following recommendations from the debrief, the recruitment process for the next All Whites head coach will involve representatives from the playing group, the PFA, the NZF board, and the NZF High Performance and Player Welfare Committee, to ensure the best fit possible is identified.
“The debrief, conducted through face-to-face interviews with more than 40 people involved in the qualifying campaign (including more than two-thirds of the playing group), was undertaken to help establish what went well and could be improved ahead of the next World Cup cycle.
“While the de-brief found the team was as well prepared as possible for the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign, there were a number of recommendations that needed to be addressed ahead of future activity.”
Pragnell said: “A key priority for NZF is making sure we plan and resource sufficiently for the next four years, giving the All Whites the best possible chance of success at the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and in our 2024 Olympic campaign.
“One area the campaign debrief highlighted was the lack of alignment between the All Whites staff and New Zealand Football’s high-performance department — so that will be a major focus.
“It’s critical the All Whites are fully integrated with the organisation if they’re to produce the best possible results on the international stage.”
During the World Cup campaign, the general manager of NF’s high-performance department was Gareth Jennings, who was appointed in September 2021.
He resigned from the job after only nine months, and no reason was publicly given for his exit.
READ MORE: Jennings leaves high performance role after nine months >>>>
What the debrief document says
The debrief document was prepared by Auckland lawyer Don MacKinnon, a specialist in sports and employment law.
MacKinnon is chair of the Blues Super Rugby franchise and is a board member of New Zealand Cricket.
Recommendations in the debrief document include:
- Significantly review how the All Whites team staff work with New Zealand Football’s high-performance department to ensure a collaborative, planned approach.
- The need for proactive investment in coach development at All Whites level.
- Exam ways to introduce greater professional football expertise within NZF, including potentially adding high-profile former All Whites to the High Performance and Player Welfare Committee.
- Suggestions about how the role of GM of High Performance could be filled.
- The need for the communication style of the coaching group (led by the head coach) to evolve to meet the needs of a wide range of players from a cross-section of backgrounds.
- Place a greater focus on creating a strong culture of transparency and honesty, including ways to improve the scope for player feedback and collaboration (such as the establishment of a more formalised leadership group).
- Ensure the team rituals become part of the DNA of the All Whites and they are passed down from generation to generation.
- Have the team play as often as possible (ideally in every FIFA window), and set a plan in place to target higher-quality opposition and to have the team play in New Zealand more often.