Nanning city, southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 21, 2019. [Photo/IC]
But double-jobbing Italian says he’s open to making China role permanent
Fabio Cannavaro says it would “be a great honor” to make his impromptu appointment as Team China head coach a permanent position, but when and how that might happen is shrouded in uncertainty.
The Italian on Wednesday broke his silence after suddenly, and without fanfare, being installed in the hot seat last week, with the Chinese Football Association not disclosing what arrangement it has made with the Guangzhou Evergrande boss.
However, speaking ahead of Thursday’s China Cup clash against Thailand in Nanning, the 45-year-old confirmed he will continue to coach Evergrande in tandem with China－at least for the time being.
“I want to tell everyone clearly that I’m still the head coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, but now I’m also the head coach of Team China at the China Cup,” Cannavaro said at a pre-game media conference at the four-nation invitational tournament in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
“Later on, the situation will have developed more. We will have more conversations and negotiations. But now results in Nanning will have nothing to do with the question of who will be the head coach of Team China in the future.
“If I can continue to be China’s national team coach, that will be a great honor for me. But I don’t know what will happen. It’s a question with no answers now.”
Cannavaro’s appointment as compatriot Marcello Lippi’s successor only emerged after the former Italy defender’s name appeared on China’s squad list for the China Cup, which also features defending champion Uruguay and Uzbekistan.
The news that he will continue as boss of Chinese Super League heavyweight Evergrande has not been well received, with many observers questioning if he can handle the workload without appearing to favor his club, which accounts for eight players on the China Cup squad.
It is unprecedented in Chinese soccer for the national team boss to have such a dual role, while similar arrangements have historically been extremely rare in world soccer.