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China Lukewarm on Troussier's 2008 Quest
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China's football chiefs are only lukewarm about appointing globe-trotting Frenchman Philippe Troussier as coach of the national team for the Olympics, local media said yesterday.

"China's Olympic football team won't choose a coach until after the World Cup," Yang Yimin, vice president of the China Football Association, was quoted by the Beijing Messenger as saying.

"Prior to this, no one will truly become a hot candidate."

Another official from the association, who was not named, told reporters: "Perhaps after the World Cup, there might be coaches even better than him competing to coach the national Olympic team."

Troussier has repeatedly stated his desire to coach China's national team and previous Chinese press reports have said he is the number one choice.

"I hope that I can help China become one of the top 20 teams in the world within the next 10 years," China Central Television quoted him as saying last week.

Troussier said he was looking for a two-year contract to take him through to the Beijing Olympics and then for an extension to take the Chinese side into the World Cup 2010 qualifying competition.

Troussier coached Japan to the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup. He has also coached Qatar, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and South Africa.

Other candidates for the China job reportedly included Yugoslavs Milorad Kasanovic, who has coached Dalian Shide in China's Super League, and Ljupko Petrovic, the former coach of Red Star Belgrade.

Ilija Petkovic, the current coach of Serbia Montenegro, was also being considered, according to sports newspaper Titan Sports.

(China Daily May 26, 2006)

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