Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 20 News List

China's much-maligned soccer coach quits: report

AFP , BEIJING

China's head coach Zhu Guanghu reacts after Uzbekistan scored their second goal in their Asian Soccer Cup match in Shah Alam near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 18. Uzbekistan defeated China 3-0.

PHOTO: AP

The much-maligned coach of China's national soccer team, Zhu Guanghu (朱廣滬), has handed in his formal resignation after a humiliating first-round Asian Cup exit, Chinese state media reported yesterday.

Zhu's faxed resignation to the Chinese Football Association, coming after his initial refusal to quit, sets the stage for the search for his successor, who is very likely to be a foreigner, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

"I did not complete my task, failing to live up to the hopes of the fans and the trust of the leaders, and I would like here to express my apology to the fans," it quoted Zhu's fax, sent last week, as saying.

Zhu's resignation followed a shock 3-0 loss to Uzbekistan at the Asian Cup last month, setting off a barrage of criticism in the media, with one paper calling Zhu "a giant in speech, but a dwarf in action."

Zhu took full responsibility for the loss, but remained defiant, refusing to step down.

"I will not leave soccer," he said then.

He appeared to be clarify that statement in his resignation letter, saying that "this temporary setback will not defeat me. I will never leave Chinese soccer."

The official announcement of Zhu's resignation will happen after a coaching committee conference in the coming days, the paper said.

Meanwhile, popular national Olympic coach Ratomir Dujkovic of Serbia has reportedly ruled out taking over as caretaker coach because he wants to maintain his focus on next year's Games.

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