Hong Kong - China has dismissed respected Dutchman Guus Hiddink as coach of its Olympic football team after a disappointing year in charge.
In a statement Thursday, the China Football Association said that
former head coach of the Chinese women's team Hao Wei would take over
the key role for the men's team.
The CFA said it was setting up a four-member group to be in charge of
the Olympic qualifiers, with Hiddink's name notably absent.
The statement said the new leadership was "in view of the previous
inadequate preparations for the Chinese U-22 National Men's Football
Team" and was "in order to further strengthen team preparations and
improve team building and management level."
The 72-year-old Hiddink was appointed as head of the Olympic team
last September, joining veteran Italian coach Marcello Lippi in taking a
major role in China's aggressive push to finally become a force in
But after an uninspiring series of performances, Hiddink's youth team
lost 2-0 against Vietnam in a friendly at home earlier this month.
China's under-21s will be expected to make up the bulk of their squad for the Olympics, where the age group is under-23.
State news agency Xinhua said Thursday night that "despite his
illustrious coaching career, the Dutch veteran is far from (a) success
in China" with only four wins out of the twelve matches."
Football-fan President Xi Jinping has grand ambitions of China hosting and even winning a World Cup.