Football Ferns 'have to accept' Abby Erceg's second retirement, says technical director

The Football Ferns have made peace with veteran defender Abby Erceg's second retirement from the international game, having only made her return to the New Zealand side earlier this year.

Erceg, 28, called time on her career with the Football Ferns for the second time this morning, having already done so in February last year, saying New Zealand's women footballers weren't adequately supported.

Speaking to media today, New Zealand Football technical director Andreas Heraf said he and the side had no qualms with Erceg’s decision.

"It's her decision," he said.

"We have to accept it, everybody in this world is free to do think and to do what they want to do.

"It's a pity, because she’s a fantastic football player and she would help us a lot.

"But it's a decision made by her, and we have to accept that."

Heraf also said that the decision didn’t take him by surprise, and that he was well aware of Erceg's intent following their tour of Spain earlier this year.

"I knew quite early after the Spain tour."

Abby Erceg will hang up her boots at the age of 27 after next month's Cyprus Cup. Source: 1 NEWS

"I started really fast to get the team ready for the big event right now in Wellington, so I was calling and asking all of the girls in the squad and the wider squad about the next game and about the next tour.

"Abby came back to me and said that she will retire again, that she won't come back again.

"She was not feeling that happy coming back again, and she wants to focus on her team in the USA."

The Football Ferns will line up against Japan in Wellington without Erceg, playing a friendly match against Japan.

Erceg called time on her career again ahead of NZ's clash with Japan. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Inconsolable young goalie collapses in tears after getting sent off midway through penalty shootout

A young goalkeeper was visibly heartbroken after he was sent off by the referee midway through a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals of the U17 European Championship.

After a 1-1 draw between Ireland and the Netherlands couldn't be broken up in extra time yesterday, James Corcoran looked to give the Irish the upper hand when he saved the Dutch side's fifth spot-kick.

But the fairytale story quickly became a nightmare referee Zbynek Proske ruled the save invalid and issued Corcoran a yellow card for coming off his line to illegally block the shot.

With the yellow being Corcoran's second in the match, he was also sent off as a result.

The young keeper collapsed in tears at the sight of red and had to be comforted by his teammates before finally handing over his gloves and goalkeeper shirt to defender Oisin McEntee.

The Dutch didn't falter in their second attempt, slotting home the goal and advancing to the semi-finals as a result.

Irish officials immediately took to the pitch after the winning goal to argue with the ref - even the senior team manager Martin O'Neill took expressed his disagreement with the decision.

The Netherlands now play England in the semi-finals while Italy and Belgium face off on the other side of the bracket.



Fijian player cops seven-game ban after saying 'white people' at Kiwi referee

The Oceania Football Confederation has handed a seven-game ban to a Fijian player who used the phrase "white people" in reference to match officials during an OFC Champions League semifinal match.

The governing body says Lautoka forward Samuela Drudru has also been banned from entering stadiums for "discriminatory behaviour".

The OFC says a sanction over the mandatory five-game ban reflected "the gravity of the incident".

The referee from New Zealand reported comments Drudru made after being sent off for a second yellow card in the match against Marist of the Solomon Islands on April 22.

Fijian media reported Drudru acknowledged using the phrase "white people."

Without Drudru, Lautoka lost 6-0 to Team Wellington in the first leg of the Champions League final. The return game is on Sunday in Fiji.

Nadi's Samuela Drudru smashes Auckland keeper Tamati Williams in the face after Tamati safely has the ball. OFC Champions League Group Stage Fiji 2014, Auckland City FC v Nadi FC, Churchill Park, Lautoka, Tuesday 8th April 2014. Photo: Shane Wenzlick
Samuela Drudru in action during the 2014 OFC Champions League. Source: Photosport