China coach wants to quit 'annoying' job
Martin Zhou in Beijing
China coach Jonas Kazlauskas says the pressures of his job are unbearable and he wants out.
'It's an annoying job . . . sometimes you have to almost come to blows just to get things done your way,' he was quoted as saying in an interview with Kauno Deina, a Lithuanian newspaper.
'I have thought seriously about calling it quits and moving to Kauno Zalgiris [a Lithuanian team]. But under the terms of my contract with the Chinese Basketball Association [CBA], I cannot leave.
'I have told the CBA that I will leave when the contract expires after the Olympics.'
Kazlauskas has come in for heavy criticism after a string of poor performances by China in friendlies this summer.
This is not the first time the Lithuanian has publicly aired his grievances. The coach stirred up controversy last summer by denouncing China's basketball league as 'counter-productive' to the national team's preparation for the Beijing Olympics.
He also complained that the absence of Houston Rockets star Yao Ming from most of the national team's fixtures made his task next summer virtually impossible.
Hu Jiashi, a CBA official managing the national team, denied there were hard feelings between the coach and the association, though he acknowledged the immense pressure Kazlauskas was under.
'The goal for the men's and the women's team is to at least make the top eight at the Olympics ... that's mandatory' said Hu. 'So it's natural he might be feeling the pressure.'
But mainland basketball fans are not that forgiving.
'Kazlauskas has exaggerated the difficulties he has encountered,' Su Qun, a well-known columnist, wrote in the Basketball Herald. 'He has the luxury of having the best-ever generation of Chinese basketballers at his command, like Yao. But he just keeps messing up.'