China’s men’s national soccer (football) team is letting head coach Vladimir Petrovic’s contract expire after the team’s disappointing attempt to qualify for the 2010 World Cup (Asian Football Confederation report).
The Serbian was hired on an 11-month contract last August. In World Cup qualifying matches this spring, the team tied Australia 0-0 in Kunming, lost to Qatar 1-0 in Tianjin and lost to Iraq 2-1 in Tianjin. China’s lone win of the campaign came against Australia, a 1-0 win in Sydney. But China was a lame duck going into the game, with no chance of qualifying. In a statement posted by the Asian Football Confederation, Petrovic was positive and gracious but expressed some frustration with the brief amount of time he’d been given to turn the team around.
“Elimination from the World Cup left me very sad but I have had many (positive) emotions which I appreciate,” said Petrovic, who was named coach of the year in 2005 in the Chinese Super League for his success with Dalian Shide. “The time I have had here was too short to change anything and maybe I could have done better if I had enough time.”
Petrovic is the second coach to get canned from the national soccer program in just over three months, after women’s team head coach Elizabeth Loisel was let go in late March. China’s Olympic team coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, also Serbian, remains in place.
Photo from AFC.com
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