Football: Former NZ assistant Jitka Klimkova appointed Football Ferns coach through 2027 World Cup

Former assistant coach Jitka Klimkova will replace Tom Sermanni in charge of the Football Ferns through the next two Women's World Cup tournaments.

The former Czech Republic defender, currently based in her homeland, has an impressive football CV, having guided Canberra United to an Australia W-League title in 2012 and the NZ U17 women to their 2014 World Cup.

During her previous stint with NZ Football, Klimkova also served as assistant coach with the NZ U20 and senior women, before moving on to the vaunted United States women's programme.

"We're delighted to appoint a coach of Jitka's calibre to lead the Football Ferns into preparations for the home 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup and beyond," says New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell.

"A familiar face to many in the Football Ferns, she has a real understanding of New Zealand's football ecosystem.

"Jitka has a real love for Aotearoa, is a passionate coach, a very strong communicator and experienced across a range of international football systems. Her experiences here, in Australia - where she won the W-League and was honoured as Coach of the Year - and in the United States in the US Soccer system make her amply equipped to prepare the Football Ferns for 2023 and 2027."

Sermanni stepped down from the Ferns job after the Tokyo Olympics, where the Kiwi women drew the 'Pool of Death', and suffered losses to Australia, USA and Sweden. All three made the semi-finals, with Sweden eventually losing to Canada in the final.

Klimkova, 47, will officially being her role in October, as the first female head coach since the national women's side adopted the 'Football Ferns' nickname in 2006.

Tom Sermanni coaching the Football Ferns
Tom Sermanni coaching the Football Ferns. Photo credit: Photosport

"I'm so honoured and proud to be the Football Ferns head coach," she says. "I can't wait to meet the players, to meet the coaches, to meet the employees of NZ Football.

"It's going to be an amazing journey. Our goal is to win our first-ever games during the World Cup and what is the better timing than at home on our home soil?"

New Zealand and Australia will co-host the 2023 Women's World Cup.