New Zealand’s national coach suddenly resigns

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand national soccer coach Fritz Schmid has resigned unexpectedly after only 16 months in the job.

In a statement Friday the Swiss national said he decided to resign after “careful reflection of my private and professional situation.”

Schmid’s sudden departure throws into turmoil New Zealand’s campaign to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Schmid was due to take charge of an under-23 men’s training camp in Auckland next week in preparation for the Pacific Games in Samoa from July 8. The Pacific Games are a key part of New Zealand’s preparation for Olympic qualifiers in September.

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New Zealand’s next senior international is against Ireland in Dublin in November. Schmid coached New Zealand in four internationals, losing to Canada and Kenya and beating Taiwan and India.

In his statement Schmid said he is “extremely grateful for my experience at the helm of the All Whites.”

“I have met countless members of the New Zealand football community, who received me with great respect and true open-mindedness,” he said. “I would like to thank all of them for their trust and support during my time at NZF.

Schmid’s departure follows those of NZ Football chief executive Andy Martin and national women’s coach Andreas Heraf, who left after complaints from players about his manner and approach.

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