China axes soccer coach Dujkovic ahead of Olympics

2008-07-17 05:37:33 GMT       2008-07-17 13:37:33 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhuanet) -- China has axed Serbia's Ratomir Dujkovic as Olympic soccer coach just three weeks before the start of the Beijing Games, Chinese Olympic soccer team media officer Li Xuan said Thursday.

Dujkovic, who has been running the under-23 Olympic team since late 2006, has been moved into another job and replaced by Yin Tiesheng.

Yin, 52, was coach of Chinese league team Qingdao and was head coach of China's men's under-20 team in 2004.

"Dujkovic's work has been changed. Now he is no longer directly in charge of the training and matches. That responsibility goes to Yin Tiesheng." Li said.

"Dujkovic will analyze the opponents and provide advice to the coach. The decision was announced to the team this morning by Chinese Football Association chairman Xie Yalong," he said.

Li did not give a reason for the change. There was no immediate comment from Dujkovic.

Dujkovic also took over as China's senior national coach in January, but the team lost in the first round of qualification for the 2010 World Cup.

The former Red Star Belgrade goalkeeper led Ghana to the second round at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

China has been drawn in the same group at the Aug. 8-24 Olympics as Brazil, New Zealand and Belgium in Group C at the men's 16-team Olympic tournament, with the top two teams progressing.

(Agencies)

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