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Jitka Klimkova resigns as coach of the New Zealand women’s national team four weeks before the Olympic Games

New Zealand women’s team head coach Jitka Klimkova has withdrawn from her commitments for the Paris Olympic Games four weeks before the start of the tournament.

The former Czech Republic defender will be replaced by her assistant Michael Mayne at the games, New Zealand Football said.

It has not been announced whether Klimkova, who has been head coach since 2021, will return. The last few weeks have been turbulent for the 49-year-old.

Klimkova, the former coach of the U.S. women’s U-19 and U-20 teams, took time off and missed the friendlies against Japan in early June while an independent investigation into an unspecified “employment-related matter” was underway, according to the national association.

On June 8, it was announced that Klimkova had been given permission to lead the team at the Olympics, but three weeks later she decided to withdraw.

“Klimkova believes that due to concerns about the team environment, her wellbeing and an ongoing recovery process, now would not be the right time for her to return,” New Zealand Football said.

The Football Ferns have won 11 of 39 games under Klimkova, losing 21 and drawing seven.

Under her leadership, the co-hosts were eliminated in the group stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

New Zealand, ranked 28th in the world, will face Canada in its first game at the Olympic Games on July 25.

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© Agence France-Presse

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