Wales manager Jarmo Matikainen has confirmed he will remain in charge of the national team on a part-time basis for the rest of 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying.
Matikainen, 54, announced in January he would be stepping down from his full-time role with the Football Association of Wales (FAW), a position that also included responsibility for the women's Under-17 and U19 sides. However, Matikainen will now stay at the senior team's helm for the remainder of their World Cup qualification campaign.
"It was always my intention, and I told the FAW at the time that I would be willing and happy to stay on with the senior side," Matikainen told UEFA.com. "We are in an era of development and transition, as you always are in international football, and to be able to work with the senior side for the remainder of the campaign is important to me."
The former Finland youth coach was appointed in October 2010 to oversee and develop a new era of professionalism in Welsh women's football. "I really enjoy working with the players," he added. "You really cannot find better motivated people. It is so rewarding to work with the players that we have and I am really happy."
Matikainen's team are level in World Cup qualifying round Group 6 with Ukraine – whom they host on 9 April in Llanelli, five days after visiting Turkey – as they seek a first major qualification. The manager has been credited with the forward strides made during his full-time tenure with the FAW, including the key part he played in Wales successfully staging the UEFA European Women's U19 Championship last August.
Matikainen's part-time reign began last week with two home friendly draws against Romania in Llanelli and Port Talbot. "We were really happy to have these games against a quality side like Romania – they were a good test after a break of four months to see where we are. These games have prepared us perfectly for the next two qualifiers."
Looking ahead to the Turkey and Ukraine matches, he added: "I saw them play each other in February and I was really impressed with them both for different reasons. Ukraine are a very experienced team and know what it takes to qualify from a difficult group. Turkey are improving, and improving fast. They are technically very good and have good attacking players. We are expecting a stern, tough test and we have to make sure we are ready."
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