New Zealand flag

Jitka Klimková will step down as head coach of the Football Ferns for the upcoming Olympic Games, New Zealand Football have announced.

The decision follows an independent workplace employment investigation that cleared Klimková to coach the team in Paris.

However, in their statement on Friday 28 June, New Zealand Football confirmed that she would depart due to concerns in relation to the team environment and her own wellbeing, it was not the right time for her to return.

In her absence, assistant coach Michael Mayne will act as head coach during the Paris games, as well as bringing in additional staff to support the team over the course of the tournament.

Embed from Getty Images

The ex-Czech defender was appointed head coach in 2021 and led New Zealand during their home World Cup in 2023, when they opened the tournament with an impressive victory over Norway.

It was the Football Ferns first ever World Cup win, and with a simple 1-0 result, Hannah Wilkinson will go down in history as scoring the teams first, and only, World Cup goal.

Whilst the team did not make it out of their group, obtaining one loss, one draw and one historic win in a tournament that saw new heights for women’s football, they drew the eyes of a nation and will be looking to make that same statement at the Olympics.

It will be a tough test for the Ferns however, placed in Group A alongside France, Colombia and Canada, they will enter the tournament as they often always do, the underdogs.

New Zealand kick off their Paris 2024 campaign against Canada on Thursday 25 July 2024.

Featured image courtesy of via Flickr. No changes made to this image. License details found here