Home / 2008 Beijing Olympic Games / Team China / Gallery Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Here We Go Again: Foreign Coach Wanted
Adjust font size:
Yet another foreign search for a national soccer coach began when senior China Football Association (CFA) officials squirmed back to the drawing board in Beijing on Monday.

The CFA will resort to their past strategy of entrusting a stranger to ameliorate China's inveterate woes, well-placed sources say.

Despite an abysmal track record with foreigners at the helm of the national squad between 1997 and 2005, another blow-in is set to take the reins when Zhu Guanghu is discarded.

"Though lots of plans are still under discussion, there is one thing for sure: a foreign coach will take the helm of the national team," Beijing News said.

"There is no chance for local coaches."

Domestic media are unanimous on this all-too-familiar outcome.

One possible replacement for Zhu is former France striker Jean-Pierre Papin.

The 43-year-old mentor left RC Strasbourg in June after inspiring the club's promotion to French Ligue 1.

He said he looked forward to talking with the CFA in Beijing later this month.

Other candidates circulating the rumor mill include domestic league champions Shandong Luneng's Serbian coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic and former Yugoslavian and Shanghai Shenghua coach Ilija Petkovic.

Recent national (under-24) Olympic team coach Ratomir Dujkovic's name also has been mooted.

He has been tipped as the favorite candidate after refining the Olympic team's brand of football.

But an unidentified CFA official denied any such promotion.

"The Olympic team's top priority is the 2008 Beijing Games," he stressed to Soccer Newspaper.

"It is impossible now to have Dujkovic pick up the national team."

Other media outlets have downplayed the chances of having a big name coach because they say that $500,000 to $1 million per year is all the CFA has to offer its coach.

Another gamble begins

A postmortem and subsequent new coaching appointment after the national team has disappointed at another major tournament has become a tired old routine in China.

Nevertheless, CFA will again gamble on a "savior" to steer a struggling squad to the promised land - the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

Zhu's days are most certainly numbered after his charges crashed out of the Asian Cup quarterfinals following their 0-3 humiliation by Uzbekistan last week.

It marked the team's worst performance at the tournament since 1980.

"We will first submit the proposal about how to invite a new coach to the State General Administration of Sport, wait for the approval and send the resignation to Zhu," Soccer Newspaper quoted an official from CFA as saying on Monday.

"After the procedure, we will start to select new coach.

"But a new coach will come out after negotiations with the candidates and discussion with top officials.

"I don't think it will be done in one or two months. I think the new coach will be determined as early as October, maybe at the end of this year if it gets late."

China reached the finals of the World Cup for the first time in 2002 under Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic.

Milutinovic resigned after the tournament because of his reportedly bad rapport with CFA officials.

Dutchman Arie Haan was chosen to replace the Serb in 2002.

He left the post two years later following an early exit from the Asian Zone 2006 World Cup qualifiers.

Zhu, the former Chinese junior soccer boss, took the helm in March 2005 but has consistently fallen short, both in warm-up matches against minnows and major competitions among evenly matched opponents.

Admirably, the beleaguered mentor apologized to fans after the Uzbekistan debacle, where a draw would have roped a quarterfinals berth.

But many apportion Zhu's failure to the CFA's listlessness.

While Japan and South Korea enjoy the fruits of grassroots development and foreign coaches with suitable attitudes, Chinese officials remain oblivious to the importance of cultivating talent, and perpetually dither on appointing a coach au fait with an authentic Chinese style of play.

Appointed in 2005, Zhu was the first local coach since 1997, the year his much-maligned compatriot Qi Wusheng was fired in the wake of China's failure to reach the 1998 World Cup.

An odious procession of international coaches followed Qi: Englishman Bobby Houghton, Milutinovic and then Haan.

Their disparate styles and methods have exacerbated the original dilemma to maroon the national team on a sea of failure.

(China Daily July 25, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- CFA Under Fire for Mishandling QPR Affair
- China to Prepare for Asian Cup
- China Punishes Player for "Unsportsmanlike" Message
- Asian Cup: China Still Targeting Semifinals
- Asia Cup: China Out After Uzbek Rout
- Olympic Team Suffers Defeat Against Juventus
- Media Blasts 'Muddleheaded' Team, Calls for Heads to Roll at CFA
Most Viewed >>
- Portugal advance, Switzerland eliminated at Euro 2008
- Ronaldo awarded English player of the year
- Portugal, Czech score wins on first day of Euro 2008
- Italian soccer team training session interrupted by beauties 
- Space-age suits race into uncharted waters