Chinese Football Association confirms Guus Hiddink to lead nation to Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020 as veteran replaces Sun Jihai
Dutch coach has taken two teams to the World Cup semi-finals and managed some of the biggest clubs in the game
Having been linked to the role for much of the summer reports of his arrival had emerged in mainland media outlets in the weeks leading up to the announcement.
Hiddink was pictured in the stands at the under-21 team’s victory over Myanmar last week and appeared to confirm his appointment to Dutch media, but nothing official had come from China despite Xinhua announcing his new role.
CFA Officially announced today that Guus Hiddink is appointed as the head coach of Chinese U-21 national team. The main task of Guus Hiddink is to lead China U-21 to qualify for 2020 Olympics through 2018 AFC U-23 Championship. Not an easy job for the 72-year-old Dutch coach. pic.twitter.com/w4lH77ESgH
— Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) 10 September 2018
The Spanish language press had also linked the Dutchman with the Colombia national team post that will be vacant once Jose Pekerman’s contract ends on August 31.
The in-demand 71-year-old has had an illustrious managerial career since starting at PSV Eindhoven in the late 1980s.
His résumé includes the Netherlands national team twice, Turkey, Russia, Australia, Real Madrid and two interim stints at Chelsea.
He took South Korea to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002, a feat he matched with the Netherlands in 1998 and with Russia at Euro 2008.
The veteran Dutch coach has reportedly signed a three-year deal but on a fraction of what Italian World Cup winner Marcello Lippi earns as manager of the senior team.
Media reported that he would earn no more than 4 million euros.
Most comments on Chinese social media were positive but some suggested that the CFA look towards Jia Xiuquan, the coach of the women’s under-23 team at the Asian Games rather than a high profile foreigner.
Former Manchester City player Sun Jihai had been in charge of the age group at the Toulon Tournament earlier this year and in their friendlies since.
CFA will announce who will be the head coach of the new China U-21 team next week. It is very likely that Guus Hiddink is the person to take the responsibility. The Dutch coach will come to China with his staff. The task of the U-21 team is to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. pic.twitter.com/kysY1XwI7E
— Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) 21 August 2018
China finished third in their group in France, with a single point coming from a draw with Qatar but they impressed against eventual champions England in the group opener.
The players, most of whom were born in 1997, include several players who were on Asian Games duty in Jakarta.
Chen Binbin, Zhang Yuan, Cao Yonjing, Zhang Yuning – who is the only one of them to play in Europe where is on loan at ADO Den Haag – and Huang Zichang were all in Massimiliano Maddaloni’s under-23s.