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CFA officials deny adding pressure before Uzbekistan loss


10-14-2016 10:49 BJT

It is a tumultuous and difficult time for the China's men's national team. After their 2-0 loss in Uzbekistan on Tuesday, coach Gao Hongbo suddenly announced his resignation. On Thursday, the Chinese Football Association held a meeting to discuss what is to be done moving forward as China still has six more games in this final stage of 2018 World Cup Qualifying. 

Football fans throughout the country unleashed a new wave of criticism on the national team after China's dream of reaching Russia were all but crushed.

After the loss in Tashkent, the Chinese team is second from the bottom in Group A with just one point. Their chances of finishing in the top two remain a mere theoretical possibility, despite six matches still to be played through September next year.

The fans urged the CFA to take more responsibility for what they called poor youth development rather than replacing coaches one after another.

Gao said his decision to step down was made together with CFA officials before the game. He had an in-depth discussion with CFA leaders on the eve of the match and was told the head coach should take responsibility for the team's performance. He accepted this and so decided it was time to leave.

CFA officials denied comments that they had put great pressure on Gao and the team before the game and accepted the coach's resignation.

"I never mentioned resignation or anything similar when I talked to Gao before the game.  I did not say that if you lose this game, you must resign. Under normal circumstances, I would not have made such a mistake.  Just as with a child before a test,  I wouldn't say if you fail, you will be punished. The CFA just made suggestions, and the final decision was in the hands of the coach. Since Gao announced his decision to resign, he certainly also needed to take responsibility for the game," said Cai Zhenhua, CFA president.

CFA vice president Zhang Jian said now that the association has accepted Gao's resignation, the relevant procedures will be followed and the selection process for finding a new coach will begin in one or two days.

The new bench boss must have a full understanding of Chinese and Asian football and candidates could include both locals or foreigners.

The CFA will speed up the selection process and choose the new coach in about one week. 

"We are now in a special situation.  Most people think that a coach can continute to work for the team regardless of results.  That is a good idea, but it is very difficult to carry out. In fact, a team that continuously loses will not be accpeted by the fans and media.  Because China has been hoping for good results in football for so long, we need patience, but everything has its limits," said Wang Dazhao, CFA executive member.

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