New Zealand Football is pleased to announce that former Austrian international Andreas Heraf has been appointed as its new Technical Director.
The 49-year-old qualified with distinction with both his UEFA Pro Licence and UEFA Elite Youth Licence – the world’s highest coaching qualifications – and will replace the highly-experienced Rob Sherman, who stepped down in December for personal reasons.
New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andy Martin said Heraf’s appointment is a coup for football in this country as the organisation looks to deliver the next phase of the Whole of Football Plan.
“Andreas’ experience as a coach, player, in coach development and leading football academies is world class and makes him an ideal fit for this position,” said Martin.
“He is widely respected throughout Europe for the work he has done with Austrian Football and we are sure that he is going to add huge value to both our high performance and community teams as we look to achieve our vision of incredible performances both on and off the field.”
Martin said Heraf’s appointment is vital as the Technical Director plays the lead role in ensuring that the technical infrastructure is in place to support the game at all levels.
“To attract someone like Andreas to New Zealand Football underlines the great work that is already being done in our high performance and community teams and he will enable us to continue that momentum.”
Heraf, who played 11 internationals for his country in the 90s, coached Austria during the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand and fell in love with the country. He is excited to continue the good work of New Zealand Football.
“I am really glad to be appointed as the Technical Director of New Zealand Football,” he said.
“I want to continue along the course set by NZF, bring in my experience and knowledge and be a role model with respect to enthusiasm, passion, joy and love for the game. I would love to infect everybody in the country with this spirit, and ultimately become a member of New Zealand Football’s family.”
Heraf said 2017 is a hugely exciting year for New Zealand Football on the world stage with two age-group teams, the U-17 and U-20 men, competing at their respective FIFA World Cups and the All Whites looking to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He is excited to add his experience.
“Even after having been a professional football player and a professional football coach for more than 20 years, and having worked for the Austrian Football Association for another nine years, the role of the Technical Director of NZF is a big challenge for me, but also a great gift,” he said.
“I visited New Zealand three times in the last two years and from the first step into the country, I fell in love with its extraordinary beauty and its outstanding inhabitants, who have been the friendliest and most open-hearted people I have ever met.”
Heraf has an exceptional track record as a coach and administrator with the Austrian Football Association.
He is head of the 12 Austrian Football academies and responsible for developing elite players at U‐15, U‐16 and U‐18 levels. He also has responsibility for the education of the academy coaches.
He has the best tournament qualifying record as a coach for Austrian international age-group teams. Since 2010, he has helped age-group teams qualify five out of six times for UEFA European Championship finals and FIFA World Cups. The best result of that run came in 2014 when he led the U‐19s to the semi-finals of the UEFA Championship in Hungary.
Several players in the current senior Austria national team were members of the age-group squads, including David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Alexander Dragovic (Bayer Leverkusen) and Florian Grillitsch (Werder Bremen).
Heraf has also been a key coach educator through UEFA. He was responsible for overseeing the structure of youth academies in Austria, a contributor to UEFA study groups on youth development and an invited speaker at many clubs in Austria and Germany on youth coaching.
The New Zealand Football recruitment panel included Martin, All Whites coach Anthony Hudson and Football Ferns coach Tony Readings.
“Our national teams share the same goal of winning at pinnacle events on the world stage,” said Martin.
“Andreas shares a similar football philosophy to both Anthony and Tony and the way they want our national teams to be playing. They will collectively play an important part in creating the pathway connecting the grassroots to the elite game.”
Heraf will begin with New Zealand Football as the new Technical Director in late August.