A plan to inspire New Zealanders beyond the football pitch was unveiled on Wednesday as New Zealand Football outlined its bold new High Performance strategy.
New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin; along with High Performance Director Fred de Jong, All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, Football Ferns coach Tony Readings and Technical Director Rob Sherman presented the national body’s High Performance Plan: ‘Beyond Football’ at the Floating Pavilion in Auckland.
After a wide-ranging consultation process involving key stakeholders, the comprehensive High Performance Plan maps out the organisation’s approach to building a culture of continual success at international level.
Martin said the plan, seven months in the making, is one of the most important bodies of work ever undertaken by the national body.
“Everyone involved in sport understands how success at major international events can uplift a nation, capture the imagination of the public and provide benefits extending far beyond the realm of the game itself,” Martin said.
“You need only look at the impact of the All Whites reaching the 1982 and 2010 World Cup tournaments to understand the possibilities open to football that come with that type of achievement.”
“As we aim to reposition football in the hearts and minds of New Zealanders, a clear strategy to ensure more regular, sustainable and defined success at the pinnacle events for our game – FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games tournaments – is absolutely vital.”
“The High Performance Plan blueprint for our game has detailed our current situation and, within key areas of focus, provides guidelines for our effort to ensure we position ourselves to achieve more success more often on stages that mean something to New Zealanders.”
The plan outlines five core areas of attention with creating and developing strategic partnerships, investment in resources, coach development, competitions alignment and player development identified as the pillars of the approach.
Martin says a key component of the new plan is the harnessing of the global reach of the game and maximising the benefits of regular contact with key nations for New Zealand both on and off the field of play.
“Football is the number one sport in the world played by a large number of New Zealand’s key trading partners,“ Martin said.
“The majority of those nations also qualify regularly for the major tournaments in the FIFA calendar so building an approach which is mindful of that serves two important purposes from our view.
“On the pitch; more regular contact with those countries will have obvious benefits for our teams and players in the journey along the qualification pathway towards the major tournaments we’re targeting.
“Off the field, given the highly visible position of football in those countries, the strengthening of ties can only have positive effects for our economy and New Zealand’s international profile moving forwards.”
The new High Performance Plan for New Zealand Football is available here (PDF).