Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

New coach spells out plans for China

CHINA'S new national football coach Gao Hongbo has set qualification for the 2014 World Cup as a target in his quest to revitalize the beleaguered team.

In his first news conference since being appointed on May 4, Gao asked the public to have faith in him, saying there was "much work to be done" in rebuilding the squad.

"We need to deploy our wisdom and strengthen our core to advance with the mainstream of international football," Gao said yesterday.

"The goal of this Chinese men's football squad is the 2014 Brazil World Cup."

The former China international striker replaced Yin Tiesheng, who has been managing the team on a temporary basis since the departure in December of Serbian Vladimir Petrovic, who was dismissed after China was eliminated in 2010 World Cup qualifying.

The national team is ranked No. 97 by FIFA, just behind Qatar and one place in front of Sierra Leone.

Its national team was knocked out of 2010 World Cup qualifying last year, failing to make the top-10 sides in Asia. In its only World Cup appearance, in 2002, China lost all three games while failing to score a single goal.

Gao's first test comes in a friendly against three-time World Cup winners Germany in Shanghai on May 29. That match, he said, would allow China to gauge the gap between it and the world's top teams.

"I know that our players are all hoping to be in the squad for that game, including those overseas," Gao said.

China then faces Iran on June 1 in the coastal city of Qinhuangdo and takes on Saudi Arabia three days later in nearby Tianjin. Both those teams are three-time winners of the Asian Cup, a competition in which China was runner-up in 2004.

China's next match in qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup will be away to Lebanon on November 14.

Gao gave no clues as to who he would pick for those squads, although he is likely to turn to experienced players such as veteran captain Li Weifeng of South Korea's Suwon Samsung Bluewings, plus Sun Jihai and Zheng Zhi of England's Sheffield United and Charlton Athletic.

At 43, Gao is the youngest coach ever to lead China, but brings a wealth of coaching experience in the domestic league, having led Changchun Yatai to the Chinese Super League title in 2007.

Under Gao, Changchun was undefeated in the 2008 AFC Champions League, winning three and drawing three but finishing as group runner-up to eventual finalist Adelaide United.

His selection also marks a return to Chinese coaches after experiments with mostly foreign coaches at the helm since 1991, most successfully under current Iraq coach Bora Milutinovic in 2000-2002.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend