Football: Former OlyWhites coach Des Buckingham links with A-League's Melbourne City

Former NZ U23 coach Des Buckingham is heading back to the A-League.

The 35-year-old Brit has been appointed assistant coach of Melbourne City, under former Australian international Patrick Kisnorbo. 

Buckingham led the OlyWhites to Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw the Games postponed for 12 months.

His NZ Football contract expired and Buckingham was let go, with All Whites coach Danny Hay also taking over the age-group side. 

Buckingham was previously NZ U20 head coach, and spent three seasons as an assistant and co-coach at Wellington Phoenix.

"I’m delighted to be joining Melbourne City, and I can’t wait to work alongside Patrick and the whole coaching team for the upcoming season," Buckingham says.

"Returning to the A-League and joining a club like Melbourne City with an exciting group of players is one I believe fits the mould for me as a coach and my footballing philosophy.  

"City has established a style of play that has set themselves as one of the top teams in the league, and I’m looking forward to working alongside Patrick and the team."

A-League sides are scheduled to begin pre-season training on October 5.