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China coach faces axe after four months

LESS than four months after becoming China's youngest national basketball team coach, Guo Shiqiang looks like being one of the shortest-lived occupants of the post as well after a series of disappointing results.

Chinese media have been near unanimous in calling for the head of the 34-year-old former team mate of Yao Ming after defeats to Australia and Turkey followed last month's embarrassing loss to Iran in the Asian championship final.

Liaoning Daily suggested it was "Time for restructuring" while the Shenzhen News announced the start of the "Countdown to Guo's dismissal".

Shandong Television slammed the "Ugliest China team" and said a sacking was "inevitable", while Sichuan's West China City Daily invited Guo to return to his former provincial team as he was clearly "not a proper national coach". China finished third without injured Yao or NBA forward Yi Jianlian at the annual invitational four-team Stankovic Cup, which was considered to be the last chance for Guo to save his job and concluded in Kunshan yesterday.

The China Basketball Association issued an apology on its official website (, blaming the failure on themselves and promising to review the team's shortcomings at a meeting tomorrow.

Guo was appointed to the post in early May and will be hoping to at least surpass Wang Changyou's short reign in charge of the China team from Oct. 1990 to Feb. 1991.


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