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China National Team

Ding dong Camacho’s gone

The Chinese Football Association announced this afternoon that they fired manager Jose Antonio Camacho. There was much speculation the CFA would take this move after China’s disgraceful defeat to Thailand two weekends ago, but for awhile last week it seemed like this decision would be delayed.

Last week, the CFA was leaking like a sieve, with constant stories from unnamed sources denegrating Camacho, however the payout to the Spaniard if he were to be fired seemed the lone thing stopping them from making the decision. In the end, it appears Wanda, the company that put up the funds for hiring a foreign manager, stepped in and agreed to assist with payments to end the agreement with that manager.

During Camacho’s time as manager, China failed to get past the initial rounds of World Cup qualifying and dropped from 65 to almost 110 in the FIFA rankings (at the time he was fired, China was ranked 95). In the 23 months he led China, his record was a dreadful 6-2-11, not a good return on the 2.8 million euros he was being paid. The language difference and his managerial style never melded well with the Chinese team and in recent matches the players appeared to have quit on their manager.

There is speculation that Liaoning’s Ma Lin or Guizhou’s Gong Lei will take over, at least as caretaker manager, as China has the East Asian Cup coming up in less than a month. A number of managers were asked about taking over as national team manager over the weekend, including Gao Hongbo, Zhu Jiong, and Marcello Lippi, but all skirted the question with some iteration of their focus being on their club and its goals at the moment.

Whoever takes over the job will need to do a lot to restore the confidence of the players and the general public, good results against rivals Japan and Korea, however unlikely it may seem at the moment, would go a long way to help.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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