AUCKLAND – New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum has paid tribute to retiring “All White great” Vaughan Coveny but says he wouldn’t be surprised to see him involved in future international teams – in the dugout.

Wellington Phoenix striker Coveny, 37, announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday, two years after ending his 14-year All Whites career as New Zealand’s leading all-time goal-scorer.

Coveny’s 30 goals from 75 matches, and 28 goals from 64 ‘A’ internationals, are both All Whites records, with his last two goals sealing a 3-1 win over Georgia in 2006 – New Zealand’s first win on European soil.

“His record speaks for itself,” said van Hattum.

“He was no-nonsense and no-fuss – a gentleman off the field but a hard, fast and exciting player on it.

“He’s great with the public, especially kids, and also with the media. He is a consummate professional and was a very proud All White.

Van Hattum – a member of the 1982 World Cup All Whites team that travelled to Spain –didn’t believe Coveny’s retirement spelled the end of his contribution to football in New Zealand.

“It’s a mark of the man that Vaughan has already offered his future services to the game here in any way he can. I know he plans to pursue his coaching badges and we’ll be keeping in touch on his progress, because he still has a lot to offer.”

Vaughan Coveny’s New Zealand Career

Caps/goals: 75/30

‘A’ Internationals/goals: 64/28

Debut: v St Albans, UK, Feb 1992

First ‘A’ International: v Fiji, Auckland, June 1992

Last match: v Brazil, Geneva, June 2006.

Vaughan Coveny’s International Hit List

Goals for New Zealand

18-Jun-92 Dutch Amateurs – 1

19-Jun-95 Turkey – 1

25-Jan-97 South Korea – 1

11-Jun-97 Papua New Guinea – 3

18-Jun-97 Fiji – 1

28-Sep-98 Vanuatu – 4

29-Jun-99 Singapore – 1

6-Jun-01 Tahiti –  3

10-Jun-01 Solomon Is – 2

12-Jun-01 Vanuatu –  3

24-Jun-01 Australia –  1

9-Jun-03 USA –  1

2-Jun-04 Vanuatu –  2

4-Jun-04 Tahiti –  3

6-Jun-04 Fiji –  1

27-May-06 Georgia – 2

New Zealand’s leading goal-scorers (‘A’ International goals in brackets)

30 (28) – Vaughan Coveny

28 (16) – Jock Newall

27 (22) – Steve Sumner

25 (21) – Brian Turner

25 (16) – Keith Nelson

21 (12) – Michael McGarry

20 (10) – Roy Coxon