New head coach for women’s football

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Roger Finjord has been tapped to take over as the new head coach for Norway’s national women’s football team. He’ll succeed Even Pellerud, who announced his immediate resignation earlier in the day.

Roger Finjord is the new head coach of Norway's women's national football team. His first job is to ensure a spot for the Norwegians in next year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. PHOTO: NFF

Roger Finjord is the new head coach of Norway’s women’s national football team. His first job is to ensure a spot for the Norwegians in next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. PHOTO: NFF

“I’ve had some fine years with women’s national team and been very inspired and motivated for the job,” Pellerud told state broadcaster NRK. “After we didn’t do as well as I’d  hoped in the World Championships, I’ve been thinking about it afterwards and after two weeks of summer holiday.”

Pellerud said he concluded that that he lacked “the energy and determination” heading into Olympic qualifiers. Norway is due to play against the national teams of Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands in March as they compete for the last European spot at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Pellerud said Wednesday morning that he thus decided he needed to resign. Pellerud confirmed that he’d considered resigning right after the World Championships in Canada but officials at Norway’s national football federation (NFF) urged him to wait and think it over, indicating that he is quitting voluntarily and not being pushed out.

Just hours after his resignation became public, NFF announced that Finjord, who’s been the national team’s assistant coach for the past few years, would replace Pellerud. Finjord said he was “enormously proud” to be able to lead “one of the two flagships of Norwegian football.” He’ll now guide the women football stars on their road to Rio.

NFF’s top officials Yngve Hallen and Nils Johan Semb praised the 42-year-old Finjord, saying he has performed well in a long string of football jobs. Finjord himself praised Pellerud, saying the outgoing head coach had given him lots of freedom to develop.

Finjord was tapped to both give a sense of continuity to the team and some change. Trine Rønning, captain of the women’s national squad, told NRK it was sad to lose Pellerud. One of the highlights of his career was winning the silver medal at the European Championships in 2013. The team was, however, knocked out of the World Championships fairly early, with Semb commenting that Pellerud “did a solid job as Norwegian head coach and we got the boost we we’d hoped for when we hired him. We also all agree that the World Championships didn’t turn out as we wanted. We need a top motivated coach to boost the team again.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund