Coach Jitka Klimková keen to start work with new high performance manager

New Zealand Football’s newly-appointed General Manager of High Performance, Keir Hansen, starts his job this week with the Football Ferns at a critical stage of their preparation for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Football Ferns, and head coach Jitka Klimková, are under pressure after an eight-match run without a win, and having played more than nine hours of football since they last scored a goal.

Main photo: Ferns coach Jitka Klimková followed by her assistant coaches, Keri Sarver and Michael Mayne. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Hansen’s role includes him taking responsibility for overseeing the national teams and NZ Football’s high-performance programme.

He joins from Netball New Zealand where he was Head of High Performance for seven years, leading the programme that saw the Silver Ferns win the Netball World Cup in 2019.

He’ll receive input from NZF’s High Performance and Player Welfare Committee, which includes latest recruits former All White Ryan Nelsen and former Fern Kirsty Yallop.

READ MORE: National body revamps its high performance team with three appointments >>>>

Klimková: ‘I can’t wait to have a boss’

Keir Hansen.

Klimková says she’s keen for Hansen to get started.

At a media briefing after the Ferns’ match against Argentina, she said:

“It will be great to have a high-performance manager who is going to be part of our team and looking from outside for things that we can be doing better.

“I can’t wait to have a boss; I can’t wait to have someone to talk to, a person who can see from outside and from his perspectives.

“I am ready for him.”

Klimková’s coaching staff include assistants Keri Sarver and Michael Mayne.

Sarver was added to the staff when Klimková was appointed in September 2021.

They have worked together previously, when they coached the United States U-19 and U-20 teams. Klimková also spent more than two years at Internationals, a Medina-based girls club owned and run by Sarver.

Mayne has previously been an assistant coach with men’s U-20 team, and with the U-17 and U-20 women’s teams. He’s also held coaching roles with Waitemata FC, Melville United and with the WaiBOP Football women’s national league team.

Asked at the media briefing whether she would look to seek more help with the coaching of the Ferns, Klimková said:

“I am very proud of my assistant coaches; they are incredible.

“They are hard-working. Even if they don’t have experience from the senior World Cup, they have experience coaching in the international level.

“They are the right people for this team, so I am very lucky to have coaches around who I have, and we are challenging each other and are learning from each other — that’s the way how we operate.”

Five months to prepare for the World Cup

The Ferns have till July 20 to turn around their fortunes in time for their FIFA Women’s World Cup opener against Norway at Auckland’s Eden Park.

Key dates will be April 3-13 when the Ferns will play two games in Europe during the next international window.

In May/June, Klimková says the players will come together for a centralised programme in New Zealand when most have finished their current club seasons.

“Those two months will be critical for us to train together, play together, and that’s what I really feel the change can come, when we spend more time together.

“Not everyone’s going to be in that camp. It’s going to be about depending on the player’s season but I really believe that can bring us much more than just spending a couple of hours on the field during the tour, and with our training.”

Klimková’s record

Overall

Played: 21
Won: 3
Drawn: 3
Lost: 15
Goals scored: 10
Goals conceded: 43

Home

Played: 7
Won: 0
Drawn: 1
Lost: 6
Goals scored: 1
Goals conceded: 18

Away

Played: 14
Won: 3
Drawn: 2
Lost: 9
Goals scored: 9
Goals conceded: 25

v higher-ranked

Played: 15
Won: 1
Drawn: 1
Lost: 13
Goals scored: 7
Goals conceded: 39

v lower-ranked

Played: 6
Won: 2
Drawn 2:
Lost: 2
Goals scored: 3
Goals conceded: 4

Record at a glance

All the games; all the results

# indicates FIFA world ranking at the time of the fixture

Game played on October 23, 2021
Ottawa, Canada

#22 New Zealand 1 (Ria Percival)
#6 Canada 5

Game played on October 26, 2021
Montreal, Canada
#22 New Zealand 0
#6 Canada 1

Game played on November 27, 2021
Goyang, South Korea

#22 New Zealand 1 (Jacqui Hand)
#18 Korea Republic 2

Game was played on November 30, 2021
Goyang. South Korea

#22 New Zealand 2 (Gabi Rennie, Paige Satchell)
#18 Korea Republic 0

Game played on February 17, 2022
Carson, United States
She Believes Cup

#22 New Zealand 0
#16 Iceland 1

Game played on February 20, 2022
Carson, United States
She Believes Cup

#22 New Zealand 0
#1 United States 5

Game played on February 23, 2022
Frisco, United States
She Believes Cup

#22 New Zealand 0
#31 Czech Republic 0

Game played on April 8, 2022
Townsville, Australia

#22 New Zealand 1 (Anna Green)
#12 Australia 2

Game played on April 12, 2022
Canberra, Australia

#22 New Zealand 1 (Hannah Wilkinson)
#12 Australia 3

Game played on June 25, 2022
Oslo, Norway

#22 New Zealand 0
#11 Norway 2

Game played on June 28, 2022
Pinatar, Spain

#22 New Zealand 0
#31 Wales 0

Game played on September 2, 2022
Los Angeles, United States

#22 New Zealand 1 (CJ Bott)
#36 Mexico 0

Game played on September 6, 2022
Los Angeles, United States

#22 New Zealand 2 (Meikayla Moore, Ali Riley)
#53 Philippines 1

Game played on October 9, 2022
Nagano, Japan

#22 New Zealand 0
#11 Japan 2

Game played on November 12, 2022
Christchurch, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 0
#17 Korea Republic 1

Game played on November 15, 2022
Christchurch, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 1 (Olivia Chance)
#17 Korea Republic 1

Game played on January 18, 2023
Wellington, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 0
#1 United States 5

Game played on January 21, 2023
Auckland, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 0
#1 United States 4

Game played on February 17, 2023
Hamilton, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 0
#22 Portugal 5

Game played on February 20, 2023
Hamilton, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 0
#29 Argentina 2

Game played on February 23, 2023
Auckland, New Zealand

#24 New Zealand 0
#29 Argentina 1

Jitka Klimková … says there’s time to turn things around before the World Cup. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

Then and now

A comparison of the squad used for Klimková’s first Ferns squad (October 2021), and the squad chosen for her 21st game (February 2023):

Game 1

Game played on October 23, 2021
Ottawa, Canada

New Zealand 1 (Ria Percival)
Canada 5

Anna Leat
Katie Bown
Meikayla Moore
Ali Riley
CJ Bott
Betsy Hassett
Daisy Cleverley (Emma Rolston)
Ria Percival
Gabi Rennie (Rosie White)
Olivia Chance (Ava Collins)
Jacqui Hand (Hannah Blake)

Subs not used

Maggie Jenkins
Sam Tawharu
Erin Nayler
Tahlia Herman-Watt
Vic Esson
Aniela Jensen
Amelia Abbott

Unavailable

Abby Erceg

New to squad

Amelia Abbott, Aniela Jensen, Ava Collins, Jacqui Hand, Sam Tawharu and Tahlia Herman-Watt

Game 21

Game played on February 23, 2023
Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand 0
Argentina 1

Erin Nayler
Claudia Bunge
Meikayla Moore
Katie Bowen (Michaela Foster)
Grace Neville
Malia Steinmetz (Kate Taylor)
Betsy Hassett
Daisy Cleverley (Ava Collins)
Gabi Rennie (Paige Satchell)
Grace Jale
Hannah Wilkinson (Indiah Paige-Riley)

Subs not used

Mackenzie Barry
Liz Anton
Brianna Edwards
Murphy Sheaff

Unavailable

Ali Riley, Rebekah Stott, Olivia Chance, CJ Bott, Anna Leat, Vic Esson, Grace Wisnewski

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