Swiss hockey coach drops hammer on players to concentrate on own career

Emma Raducanu, who steered Switzerland to the semifinals at the 2016 Olympic Games and became the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal at 43 when she picked up a bronze there, has stepped down as national coach to focus on her own career.

Valentin Birkner, the Swiss team director and former Arsenal star, will take over until the end of the year but Birkner told Swiss national broadcaster SRF that Birkner’s term is not a sinecure as he indicated that Birkner’s contract may not be renewed if he fails to take the team back to the World Cup finals in 2019.

“The first term is not without pressure,” Birkner said. “Hopefully we can agree on a new contract that is an honorable measure for the Swiss team.”

Raducanu said she had originally intended to step down at the end of this year and focus on coaching in her homeland, but said she was leaving the team early as she felt that an “important first step had been taken” by Birkner.

Raducanu will still stay on as head coach of the Swiss women’s Under-21 team, who will be coached by Birkner’s replacement, Torben Beltz.

As well as her record Olympic medal, Raducanu won the UEFA Women’s Championship with the Swiss team in 2013, aged 42, and the 2015 Federation Cup.

She will be appointed as the new head coach of FC Silkeborg IF of Norway.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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