Football: New Zealand Football continues talks with 'preferred candidate' for next All Whites coach after John Herdman rejection

NZ Football insists it is still in discussion with a preferred candidate to take the role of All Whites head coach, despite public rejection from Canada's John Herdman.

On Wednesday, Newshub and other media outlets reported Herdman was the frontrunner to take charge of the men's national team, who have been without a head coach, since Danny Hay's contract expired last year.

NZ Football chief executive Andrew Prangell told Newshub the preferred candidate had agreed terms and was "100 percent" on board, but a personal situation had put a hold on the process.

Herdman recently guided Canada to last year's Football World Cup in Qatar, after topping the North, Central America and Caribbean qualification, and on Thursday (NZ time), he confirmed his commitment to Canada Soccer, who will co-host the next World Cup in 2026.

NZ Football has subsequently outlined it is still in dialogue with its preferred candidate to take the role. Newshub understands Herdman is no longer the preferred candidate. 

"New Zealand Football remain in positive dialogue with our preferred candidate for the permanent All Whites head coach role," it said.

"We will not be commenting on media speculation for the position. We will also not be commenting on individual candidates."

Herdman confirms he rejected an offer from NZ Football, but is not willing to walk away from his current role with Canada.

"Success at this level will always invite opportunity," he said. "I've received several offers in recent months, all of which I have turned down, including an offer from New Zealand Football.

"To our Canadian players and our fans, I want to reiterate my commitment to Canada Soccer and the growing of this program.

Canada's John Herdman publicly rejected the All Whites' head coaching role.
Canada's John Herdman publicly rejected the All Whites' head coaching role. Photo credit: Getty Images

"At the World Cup in Qatar, our men showed the world that they belong at that level. I'm not going anywhere.

"We still have a job to do and the objective is to take this team to the next level in 2026."

Meanwhile, Darren Bazely will take charge of the All Whites for their next assignment, with two friendly matches against China scheduled next month.