Former national U-23 head coach Des Buckingham has publicly ruled himself out as a candidate to succeed Danny Hay as the next All Whites coach.
Buckingham (37) has instead signed a two-year contract extension with Mumbai City in the Indian Super League.
“I informed New Zealand Football that I would be taking this opportunity a couple of days ago,” Buckingham told the Times of India.
“When this opportunity was put in front of me, this was the very clear one where you want to be. This is the largest and biggest footballing group in the world, that is not only showing a great deal of support but also trust in me as an individual and also what we do here.”
Buckingham moved to Mumbai City last season, who are part of the global City Football Group that has ownership stakes in 12 clubs, including English Premier League champions Manchester City and A-League club Melbourne City.
Main photo: Des Buckingham. Photo credit: Mumbai City.
Buckingham was an assistant coach at Melbourne City in 2020, after leaving New Zealand where he had coached at the Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand’s national U-20 and U-23 squads.
Mumbai are currently on a seven-match winning run, leading the ISL as the only unbeaten side after 12 rounds of competition.
Buckingham; ‘My reasons for staying with Mumbai City’
With his contract due to run out in mid-2023, Buckingham said he was eager to stay with the City Football Group.
“Firstly, I want to be the best coach that I can be and the support that I have received since I stepped into the City Football Group two and a half years ago has been very important,” he told the Times of India.
“It allows me to be the best version of myself.
“The second is my vision. It’s closely aligned to what the group has for this club, which is to continue progressing, to continue to build, both the structure of the club and also our playing style, who we recruit, how we do things to interlink with a lot of other CFG clubs.”
Meanwhile, the NZ Herald reports that Buckingham was thought to be one of five candidates shortlisted for the All Whites job.
Others are believed to include New Zealand U-20 coach Darren Bazeley, a former assistant to Danny Hay.
Wellington Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay has publicly declared his interest in the national team job, as long as the role allows him to continue his Phoenix role at the same time.
NZ Football conducted interviews with candidates in December and have stated they expect to make an appointment early in 2023.