Football Ferns coach Andreas Heraf fires back at criticism

Under-fire coach Andreas Heraf is adamant he's the right person to lead the Football Ferns.

On Sunday, Heraf was widely criticised for claiming the NZ women's national team wasn't good enough to be anything other than defensive against top sides like Japan.

Despite calls for his resignation, the Austrian isn't backing down.

Forced to front up amid a storm of criticism on Tuesday, Heraf wanted to clarify the statements he made in the wake of the lacklustre 3-1 defeat.

"We will never have that quality to compete with Japan and even be better than Japan," Heraf said at the post-match press conference.

That prompted outrage from the footballing community and the words were widely condemned.

On Tuesday, Heraf was as defensive as his tactics in Wellington.

"When I say that we will never compete with these countries, that's not my opinion," said Heraf.

"I don't know if I'd go back on that statement. Maybe it was misunderstood."

Misunderstood or not, Heraf's position as Football Ferns coach has been questioned by a raft of former players, including Katie Duncan.

"I don't believe he's the right person for the job," said Duncan, a veteran of 119 international games.

Duncan's former captain, Abby Erceg, has revealed Heraf's negative mindset was a primary factor in her decision to quit the team.

But Heraf's adamant the defensive tactics are necessary, as he prepares the team for next year's World Cup.

"It's not our style. It's not what we want to play in the future."

Nor is it one football critics want to see adopted by other teams.

But clouding the picture is the fact that Heraf is also New Zealand Football's technical director. In effect, he controls the style of play around the country.

So are the two jobs too much for one man? The fact his bosses are hiring someone to help suggests it is.

The proof will be in the performances and whether they're acceptable to the football public.