Zhu Guanghu formally out as China soccer coach | sports | Hindustan Times
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Zhu Guanghu formally out as China soccer coach

Zhu's contract with the national team ended during last month's Asian Cup, in which China failed to get past the group stage for the first time since 1980.

sports Updated: Aug 22, 2007 16:00 IST

Zhu Guanghu is formally out as China's coach, newspapers said on Wednesday.

The national soccer association's coaching put their final seal on Zhu's departure on Tuesday, The Beijing News reported, quoting China's team manager Wei Shaohui.

Zhu's contract with the association ran through last month's Asian Cup tournament, in which China failed to get past the group stage for the first time since 1980.

Likely candidates to replace Zhu include former France international Jean-Pierre Papin, who left French side RC Strasbourg this year after leading them to promotion to Ligue 1. China's successful under-23 coach, Serbian-born Ratomir Dujkovic, has also been mooted for the position.

China has enjoyed some success under foreign coaches, making it to the Asian Cup finals in 2004 under Dutchman Ari Haan, where it lost to Japan. In 2002, China qualified for its first-ever World Cup under Serbian Bora Milutinovic, bouncing out in the group stage without scoring a goal.

China started well in this year's Asian Cup, beating Malaysia 5-1 and taking a 2-0 lead in the second group game against Iran. But the Iranians rallied to force a draw, and China lost 3-0 to Uzbekistan to miss the knock out stage.