Author Topic: China's under-fire women's coach hits back at critics  (Read 593 times)

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China's under-fire women's coach hits back at critics
« on: February 19, 2008, 07:58:56 AM »
Under-fire Chinese women's coach Elisabeth Loisel has hit back at her critics, insisting their Olympic mission is on target after a 3-2 win over South Korea in the East Asian championship.

"Recently, there have been many negative reports from the media about the Chinese team's problems," the Frenchwoman said following the "Steel Roses" opener in the four-nation event on Monday.

"But, through this game, I think we displayed the progress we have made."

Loisel took the national coaching job last October with a promise to help China win a medal at their home Olympics in August.

But she has since repeatedly clashed with officials and faced a torrent of criticism, with media casting doubt in her abilities and training methods.

"Before the Olympics, we'll get everything done," insisted the 44-year-old, who previously coached the French national team.

"Also, I think we need quiet and very good surroundings for our team. And please continue to give us your support. I am very confident with my goal."

Loisel was heavily criticised after a four-team tournament in southern Guangzhou last month in which China lost 1-0 to the United States, beat Finland 2-0 and drew 0-0 with Canada.

Most recently, she protested against an official team dinner featuring a traditional hot pot, a popular fondue-type dish, on the eve of a match, with officials reportedly ordering her to stay out of off-pitch affairs.

Some sports media have predicted that she will be axed if the team fail to deliver at the East Asian event here.

"I think we need to be more patient. There are six months to go to the Olympics," said Loisel.

"And I think we are going to get them more training to improve their receiving and passing."

Dalian striker Han Duan scored twice as China struggled past South Korea in Monday's match.

Han opened the account but a brace from Park Hee-Young put the visitors up 2-1. Han scored again and her strike partner Xu Yuan's 86th minute header clinched the match.

It was sweet revenge for China who bowed 2-0 to South Korea in the inaugural women's sub-continental cup in 2005.

Loisel remained upbeat about her Olympic target although China have been without a medal since finishing runners-up to the United States in the first women's Olympic event in 1996.

"Among the top 15 teams in the FIFA rankings, any one of them can beat any one of them," she said. "It's very natural. And it's good thing that all teams can grow."

China are ranked 11th in the world with Germany the top team. North Korea, Asia's best in sixth place, lost 3-2 to Japan in their opener on Monday.

http://www.citizen.co.za/index/Article.aspx?pDesc=1,1,22&Type=football&File=080219044107.rymyte5u.xml