Beijing, Jan 2 (IANS) The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has appointed former Everton midfielder Li Tie as the head coach of the country’s national team on a permanent basis.
“The CFA will fully support Li Tie and his coaching team. We believe our national team will try their best in every game under the new head coach,” read a CFA statement, which added that Li Tie would lead his first training camp in Guangzhou on January 5.
CFA officials were said to have been shaken by Marcello Lippi’s shock resignation after China lost 1-2 to Syria in a World Cup qualifier last November, and decided to appoint a local coach who knows the team well, Xinhua news agency reported.
A panel of CFA experts held interviews with Li Tie, Li Xiaopeng and Wang Baoshan last week, and ultimately decided that Li Tie, 42, would fill Lippi’s boots.
“He has proved himself as a good coach both in the Chinese Super League and (as temporary national team coach) in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship,” said CFA Secretary General Liu Yi.
Li Tie, who served as Lippi’s assistant for both Guangzhou Evergrande and the Chinese national team, led newly-promoted Wuhan Zall to a sixth-place finish in the Chinese Super League (CSL) last season.
Li Tie will face his first challenge in March when China take on Maldives in their next 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier. China currently sit in second place in the five-team Group A with seven points from four games, five points behind group leaders Syria.