After the national team's meek exit from the Asian Cup on
Wednesday, domestic newspapers would not have made easy reading for
anyone connected with Chinese soccer.
Needing only a draw to advance to the quarterfinals, China was
beaten 3-0 by Uzbekistan - a result that is likely to mean the end
of head coach Zhu Guanghu's troubled two-year tenure.
"'A giant in speech, but a dwarf in action', that is Zhu
Guanghu," said an editorial in the Beijing Times.
"The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has to learn from the
setback. There are too many braggarts working for them, the
association must begin firing people."
Following the failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, the
team reached a new low with its worst Asian Cup effort in 27
"Bankrupt! Go Home!" said a headline in the Beijing Youth
Daily. The paper urged a total rethink of how the soccer
association operates and called for more foreign coaches and
administrators in the CFA."
The players were not spared the newspaper's ire. "They were
muddleheaded and looked like a bunch of idiot schizophrenics," the
"We hope that losing the Asian Cup will help everyone to think
clearer and quickly rid themselves of their unrealistic dreams.
Chinese soccer needs to be more open and bring in more
The Beijing Morning Post echoed the call for an
overhaul, saying there are many areas in which Chinese soccer needs
"Chinese soccer keeps punishing itself with the same mistakes
over and over again," it said.
The paper blamed Wednesday's loss on the team's two top stars
missing the match after being suspended with two yellow cards.
But it also blamed the soccer body for hiring Zhu in the first
place and for failing to bring order to a domestic league that is
riddled with corruption, match fixing and bad refereeing.
Zhu took full responsibility for the loss, but refused to step
"I will not leave soccer," he said. "I take responsibility for
However, the consensus among media is that Zhu will be relieved
of his duties after returning to Beijing and giving his team
According to Titan Sports, former France striker
Jean-Pierre Papin could replace Zhu in the near future.
"Yes, I am a candidate for China coach. I am interested in that
position, but perhaps I'm not the only one on the list," Titan
Sports quoted Papin as saying.
"If the situation is fine, why not? And I have to point out it's
not mine, but the Chinese Football Association's decision."
Papin, 43, who left RC Strasbourg in June after guiding the club
to promotion to French Ligue 1, said he would talk with the CFA in
Beijing later this month.
Appointed in 2005, Zhu was the first local coach since 1997,
when compatriot Qi Wusheng was fired in the wake of China's failure
to reach the 1998 World Cup. Qi was later replaced by a series of
international coaches, Englishman Bobby Houghton then Bora
Milutinovic from Serbia and Dutchman Arie Haan.
(China Daily July 23, 2007)