The Chinese Football Association (CFA) have appointed native Shang Ruihua to take over French Elisabeth Loisel as head coach of the Chinese women's soccer team.
Nan Yong, vice president of the CFA, announced the change at a press conference in the Xianghe National Football Training Base on Sunday.
"Elisabeth has done a lot of work since she took the position after the FIFA Women's World Cup 2007. However, as there are some cultural differences between East and West, she finds it difficult to get along with the players and the team officials," Nan Yong explained the reasons for sacking Loisel.
"She has a different way of thinking. And we don't solve these problems timely," Nan said.
Loisel, reported by Chinese media, was always late for training sessions, leaving the players waiting, and she once missed the team bus. Elisabeth was on bad terms with team official Zhang Jianqiang.
Some Chinese players were also against the French boss, complaining that her training methods were not effective as they couldn't save enough stamina in international matches. The "Steel Roses" suffered awkward defeats in the past two months, especially in the 3-0 loss to Japan and in the Algarve Cup.
But Nan Yong asked the media to judge the French coach in an objective way.
"Elisabeth is a famous coach in the world and she is a FIFA lecturer. No doubt she is a good coach. We should look at her work objectively."
"A good coach may not always get good results. There are a lot of factors which determine one's success. Football is a team sport, which needs a lot of factors to function together. We'll negotiate with Elisabeth about her leaving, and I believe we can handle this in a decent way."
Nan also introduced the 63-year-old Shang Ruihua to the media, and stressed that the Chinese women's team will focus on enhancing the team spirit, cohesion and improving training.
"Shang has 35 years' coaching experience. He led China to the fifth place at the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991, and took China's U19 women's team to be runners-up at the FIFA Women's World Youth Championship 2006. We believe he can help the team get good results at the Beijing Olympics."
When asked whether he is ready to lead the team to the last four at the Olympics, Shang said: "I have been coaching a local club team for years, so I'm not familiar with most players of the current Chinese team. I need time to know them."
(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2008)