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Firing China's soccer coach Perrin is no surprise

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

01-14-2016 16:40 BJT

By Brandon Chemers, Editor in Chief, Wild East Football

With China struggling in World Cup qualifying matches, currently sitting behind Qatar and Hong Kong, the China Football Association (CFA) had to change things up and fired its manager, Alain Perrin last week.


Despite a modicum of success at last year's Asian Cup, where China advanced from the group stage, Perrin failed to change the national team's tendency of abject failures.

With renewed interest and investment in Chinese football, the goal for Perrin was simple, make it to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, however China is perilously close to being eliminated in the opening stage and from a group that on paper, looked like an incredibly easy draw, making Perrin's sacking no surprise.

From the start, Perrin's hiring didn't have fans convinced the CFA had the right man for the job, especially after flirting with more qualified candidates, including Marcello Lippi.

It felt like the second coming of the disastrous tenure of Jose Antonio Camacho, with the CFA overselling and under-delivering, bringing in a relatively unknown mediocre European manager. Fortunately, Perrin's time in charge didn't prove to be that nightmarish, with a record of 11 wins, 10 draws, and 4 losses.

However, Perrin didn't get the job done, failing to inspire his players or fans. He was far from a tactician, with his decisions regularly leaving people wondering about his qualifications.

His refusal to even take a look at standouts, such as Zhang Xizhe and Huang Bowen, instead giving caps to lesser players was just plain odd. In an unusual situation, the most memorable part of his time in charge was his Gallic reserve being upstaged on the sidelines by his openly-expressive translator.

But the decision to fire Perrin really came down to the embarrassment of going 180 minutes against Hong Kong and failing to win a match or score a goal.

China's 1-0 loss away at group leaders Qatar was unforgivable for a variety of reasons. The Hong Kong results were not and are the reason China's in its current position.

Guangzhou Evergrande's Asian success has shown that Chinese footballers are capable of success on the international stage, raising expectations for the national team.

While none of the current generation are regulars in the starting lineup of the European sides, the Asian Champions League has created its own special nights and Chinese fans have flocked to support their local side.

Chinese clubs have found success against opponents from Japan and Korea among other continental sides, raising fans' hopes that the national team could match those results.

Now that Perrin's gone, the CFA has an uphill battle to find the right replacement and get the team in place with plenty of time to prepare for China's two final World Cup Qualifying group stage matches at the end of March.

It's hard to say who the ideal choice for the position is, but it should be an internationally-renowned manager along the lines of a Lippi or Scolari, someone who demands respect from his players and can instill discipline.

The other way to go would be a young, unproven domestic manager who would know the players well and could create an "us against the world" attitude with players.

It worked previously when Gao Hongbo was in charge and he revitalized the side and it could work again with former Chinese international Li Tie as an intriguing choice.

China still has hope of advancing to the next round of qualifying as the top two sides advance and China is only three points behind Hong Kong with a game in hand, however the pressure is on.

Considering that Perrin wasn't the right choice to get the job done, hopefully the CFA will have a better coach soon, since time is running out.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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