Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 20th 2013 Contents A51
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
WELLINGTON---The international coach-
ing career of Ricki Herbert, who led New
Zealand to unprecedented success at the
2010 World Cup, will likely end after the
return leg of its inter-continental qualifier
against Mexico today, which may also end
its latest Cup campaign.
Mexico takes a solid, four-goal buffer into
the match after winning last week's opening
leg 5-1 in Mexico City and nothing in the
New Zealand's recent form, or in the steely
resolve of the Mexico team, suggests the
deficit can be overcome.
Herbert's contract ends with the campaign
and Football New Zealand has already indi-
cated his job will be advertised.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has a little
more job security after achieving a first leg
win as his nation's fourth coach in six weeks.
While Herbert yesterday refused to con-
cede his eight year term at the helm of the
New Zealand side might be at an end, his
chances of reappointment seem slim.
Football New Zealand chief executive
Frank van Hattum, a goalkeeper when New
Zealand first played at a World Cup in 1982,
says he hopes the vacant coaching role will
attract interest from highly-qualified foreign
applicants. He has invited Herbert to reapply
for his job but his reference to a "new era"
for the national team suggests he has little
hope of reappointment.
Tensions around the current campaign
appeared to expose Herbert's bitterness that
he has not been more roundly acclaimed
for his performance as national coach. Asked
whether he expected to continue in the role
he snapped "is there anyone better?" then
insisted that he had "rescued" professional
football in New Zealand.
Asked again yesterday whether he believed
his time as national coach may be up, Her-
WCup qualifier likely last match for NZ coach
BARCELONA---Barcelona says midfielder Xavi Her-
nandez is doubtful for Saturday s Spanish league
match against Granada.
The Spanish champions say medical tests have
revealed that Xavi has a muscle strain in his left leg.
They say the rate of his recovery will determine his
availability for the upcoming game at Camp Nou.
Barcelona will be missing top scorer Lionel Messi,
out six-to-eight weeks with a left hamstring tear.
The club says that midfielder Cesc Fabregas has
returned to training with his teammates after his
injured right knee kept him from traveling with Spain's
national squad this week. Xavi was left off the Spain
squad to rest. Barcelona leads the Spanish league by
three points. (AP)
Barca's Xavi doubtful
for next match
bert said "we'll see, that certainly hasn't been agreed
yet by any stretch."
Herbert said he feels under less pressure than he
did four years ago when he led New Zealand into a
qualifier in Wellington against Bahrain. The teams
had drawn 0-0 in the first leg in Bahrain and New
Zealand won 1-0 to secure its place at the World
Cup in South Africa.
"I'm going to enjoy tomorrow (today) night, if I'm
honest," he said. "It's easy to be critical, as we've
seen over the past week in different areas, and we
cope with that. That's the roles we're in.
"But I think it's my responsibility to flow that
calmness down to the players and give them the best
opportunity, spirit-wise, to go out tomorrow night
Herbert won't name his team until match morning
but he is expected to make as many as five changes
to his first-leg lineup in the hope of creating a more
"It's just going to be all out attack," said striker
Jeremy Brockie, who has yet to score in 41 international
appearances. "We have some very good attacking
players in this side ... so there is no reason why we
can't get goals."
Herrera came under huge pressure when he led
Mexico into the first leg and made that pressure
greater when he named a starting lineup composed
entirely of players from domestic leagues. Mexican
fans had already had to swallow the bitter pill of a
fourth place finish in the Concacaf region and the
indignity of a playoff for a World Cup place.
Mexico's comfortable win relieved some of that
pressure and allowed fans of the El Tri to breathe
easier. But Herrera has still warned there is no room
for complacency --- "for triumphalism" --- in today's
return match. (AP)
CAS sets date for Euro
2008 match-fixing case
LAUSANNE---A European Championship
match-fixing case will be heard at sport s high-
est court in February.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it
scheduled the delayed appeal of Malta midfielder
Kevin Sammut on February 12. A previous court
date in October was postponed.
Sammut is challenging his life ban from football
for allegedly helping to fix Malta's 4-0 loss against
Norway in a Euro 2008 qualifier.
The 32-year-old Sammut denies colluding with
a Croatian-led syndicate to manipulate the June
2007 match for a betting scam. He was substi-
tuted at halftime in Oslo when the score was 1-
0.UEFA's appeal committee expelled Sammut
after he was originally banned for 10 years.
UEFA used convicted fixer Marijo Cvrtak as
its main witness to prosecute Sammut, who was
Maltese player of the year in 2007-08. (AP)
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