Rediscovering America

Miguel Herrera goes back to Mexican club America after fulfilling World Cup mission while Kiwi coach waves goodbye.

Herrera was appointed with a brief to qualify for the World Cup but now faces duties back at club level [GALLO/GETTY]
Herrera was appointed with a brief to qualify for the World Cup but now faces duties back at club level [GALLO/GETTY]

Having seen Mexico through to the 2014 World Cup finals on Wednesday, coach Miguel Herrera turned his mind to his club side America and the Mexican championship title race.

Herrera was appointed solely for the intercontinental playoff in which Mexico completed a 9-3 aggregate victory over New Zealand in Wellington.

Defending champions America face UANL Tigres in the first leg of their Apertura championship quarter-final this weekend.

“Today I’m already thinking of Tigres, I have to return to go for the double championship,” Herrera told reporters at the Wellington Regional Stadium, scene of Mexico’s 4-2 second leg win.

Herrera was “loaned” by America to Mexico a month ago for the playoff, becoming their fourth coach in less than two months after the team could only manage fourth place in the final six-nation CONCACAF qualifying group.

“We achieved our objective which is what we were brought here for,” said Herrera, who led America to a record-equalling 11th league title in last season’s Clausura championship.

“Now the directors will have an assembly where they will decide (my future). There are 18 (first division club) owners who will analyse and decide and I think we’ve earned the chance (to coach Mexico at the World Cup).”

The club presidents who are on the Mexican Football Federation board will meet on December 2 to make their decision on which coach will take the national side to Brazil in June.

America play away to Tigres in the first leg on Sunday with the second leg at their Azteca home in Mexico City the following weekend.

Kiwis coachless

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert ended his association with the team after Wednesday’s loss to Mexico.

Oribe Peralta scored a first half hat-trick for the CONCACAF heavyweights, who won the two-legged tie 9-3 on aggregate after they had all but sealed qualification with a 5-1 victory at the Azteca Stadium last week.

The 52-year-old Herbert had already indicated he would leave at the end of the campaign, though he said while his contract officially ends at the conclusion of the World Cup next year he would look to leave earlier than that.

“I’m going to wake up in the morning thinking the game is in a very healthy position,” Herbert told reporters after the match.

“I go out with my head high and very, very proud.”

Herbert had been appointed to the role in 2005 and rebuilt the side, ultimately culminating in the team qualifying for their second World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010.

The former central defender, however, also underestimated the improvement of the Pacific islands sides, which produced an embarrassing failure to qualify for this year’s Confederations Cup when Tahiti claimed the Oceania Nations Cup title.

Source: Reuters

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