Li Tie’s future as the new manager of the China football team hinges on a difficult campaign in the remaining 2022 World Cup Asian zone qualifiers. Despite a brief coaching career, the former China international and head coach of Chinese Super League side Wuhan Zall last season beat two other candidates, Li Xiaopeng and Wang Baoshan, to take over after the sudden departure of Marcello Lippi. The Italian quit immediately after their 2-1 defeat by hosts Syria in a World Cup qualifier in November. The Chinese Football Association made the announcement on Thursday, saying Li would build a quality side to lead the country in the remaining qualification campaign but without giving any duration of Li’s appointment. A poll conducted by online portal Sina Sports found 70 per cent of voters casting doubt on Li’s future as the young coach lacks international exposure – 40 per cent believed Li would not survive the remaining qualifying campaign, while another 40 per cent said he could lead the country to the next qualification round but would then quit. Only 18 per cent said Li could stay on as a long-term coach. Li Tie front-runner to replace Marcello Lippi as China head coach One fan questioned Li’s ability after China failed to perform last month under the coach at the EAFF Championship in Busan, South Korea. Another said China’s only chance in the World Cup qualifiers would be using all 11 naturalised players. But others said Li should be given a free hand as he has the “quality and determination to do a proper job”. The 42-year-old Li, who played four seasons as a midfielder with Premier League side Everton from 2002-06 where he made 35 appearances, started his managerial career as an assistant coach with Guangzhou Evergrande in 2012 when Lippi was in charge. From 2014, he also worked as an assistant coach of the national team. Qatar 2022: Brazil’s Elkeson confirmed in China squad Li became the head coach of Hebei China Fortune in 2015, steering them to the Super League the following year before being sacked mid season. In late 2017, he was appointed head coach of Wuhan when they were still in League 1 before earning promotion to the Super League the following year. In their first season in the top flight, Wuhan finished sixth under Li. Following the departure of Lippi, Li was tasked with leading China in the EAFF Championship in Busan in December. After losing to Japan and South Korea, they beat Hong Kong 2-0 in the last game of the regional event. Li now faces a daunting task in the qualifiers as they are eight points behind leaders Syria in group A with four games left. The top teams across the eight groups in Asia reach the next round of 12, along with the next four-best finishers. China will probably need to win all four remaining matches to advance to the next stage. China at crossroads again as Lippi quits following shock loss to Syria But that is achievable as they will play host to the Maldives, the Philippines and Syria, with the only away game against minnows Guam. The CFA also named a 27-member training squad under Li in preparation for the next round of qualifiers, which begins in March. Two naturalised players, Elkeson and Nicholas Yennaris, are on the list but veteran Zheng Zhi and La Liga player Wu Lei are missing from the training camp beginning next week.