Ex-Netherlands boss Vera Pauw appointed as new Ireland women's manager
Former Holland manager Vera Pauw has been named as the new manager of the Ireland women’s team.
The FAI have spent the last nine weeks seeking a replacement for Colin Bell and have finally settled on a manager with a wealth of playing and coaching experience.
Former Germany Under-19 manager Maren Meinert and ex-England assistant boss Marieanne Spacey were in the frame, as had been a recent Italian candidate as the FAI sought a high-profile successor to Champions League winner Bell.
Dutch native Pauw featured as a player for Italian club Modena but it was in her coaching career that she really excelled.
After a stint managing Scotland, she returned home to take over the Dutch team, leading them to the semi-finals of Euro 2009.
In more recent years, she managed South Africa at the 2016 Olympics and American outfit Houston Dash.
Pauw was also technical director at the Russian FA when they faced Ireland during the Euro 2011 qualifiers.
The current Ireland side last night opened their latest qualifying campaign, the bid to reach the 2021 Euros, with a turgid 2-0 win over minnows Montenegro.
Pauw was in attendance and it’s understood she has already been introduced to some of the players.
Bell’s former assistant Tom O’Connor was in temporary charge for the fixture and last month’s friendly loss away to the world champions USA. He is expected to remain involved on the new manager’s staff.
Pauw recently responded to the tag of 'pioneer' that has been placed upon her for her many contributions to women’s football around the world.
She said on coachesvoices.com: "In a documentary about my life and the changes I have made for girls, Louis van Gaal spoke about it, saying: "That is the prize she deserves." And I know that, on the one hand, I should feel proud. But, on the other, I wish there was no need to be a pioneer, because it means that there was no woman before I did.
"It also means that, sometimes, people do not see beyond that label. They do not see that I am a high level coach: the quality of my work, the achievements of my teams, the studies I have done and how I have demonstrated what I am worth. The word "pioneer" does not highlight any of those things.
"However, I am proud to have created opportunities for players to make a difference in their lives. That, without women like me, the game would never have been where it is now. Because don't forget, in all countries there have been other women fighting the same battles.
"But it's not about me. It never has been. This is the next generation, and make sure the opportunities are available for all women in football."