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Embattled coach Guo avoids axe
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China's basketball chief, Xin Lancheng, confirmed yesterday national basketball coach Guo Shiqiang will continue in his job and said changing the coach now, despite a string of poor results, would not be good for the team.

"If all the problems could be settled by changing the coach, we would consider it," said Xin, director of the China Basketball Administrative Center. "But the problems in the national team cannot be settled - even if Guo is replaced."

Guo became the youngest man to hold the position when he was appointed at the age of 33 in May. A humiliating loss to Iran in the final of the Asian Championships in Tianjin last month and a poor showing in the recent Stankovic Cup provoked widespread calls for his dismissal and he was tipped to be axed at a meeting of the China Basketball Association (CBA) yesterday.

But a summary of the meeting posted on the CBA website (www.cba.gov.cn) said: "We should re-establish our confidence and boost our morale and should not easily change a coach when the team is encountering temporary difficulties".

Director Xin insists the focus should be on China's players.

"We will pay more attention to developing core players to make sure they will lead the team to victory."

Xin also hinted that giving Guo more time does not mean he will stay on permanently.

"We should give him (Guo) a period of time to develop himself. It's good experience for him and we should not rush to a decision prematurely. But the period of time (to decide a coach's future) depends on how you are doing in your job."

Only 25 percent of the public support the CBA's decision, according to a poll on sports.sina.com.cn.

(China Daily September 3, 2009)

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