Coach Jankovic Optimistic Despite Chinese Football’s Asian Cup Struggles


Coach Jankovic Optimistic Despite Chinese Football’s Asian Cup Struggles

Despite China’s disappointing performance in the 2023 Asian Cup, Coach Aleksandar Jankovic remains optimistic about the future of Chinese football. China recently suffered a 0-1 defeat to host Qatar in the final group stage match, finishing third in Group A with two points. This outcome puts them at risk of not advancing to the knockout stage.

Coach Aleksandar Jankovic looked up at Chinese fans in the stands at Khalifa International Stadium, after the 0-1 loss to Qatar in the final round of Group A Asian Cup 2023. Photo: AFC

Jankovic acknowledged his disappointment at the team’s inability to score goals during a press conference after the match. However, he expressed confidence that Chinese football is still progressing, especially considering their performance in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. He dismissed the notion that Chinese football is in decline, emphasizing that setbacks do not equate to regression.

The coach highlighted the fine margins in football, noting that a disallowed goal in the opening match against Tajikistan could have changed their fate. Despite the defeat to Qatar, Jankovic pointed out that China created several scoring opportunities in the first half, but missed chances cost them dearly. He also emphasized the narrowing gap between teams in Asian football, stating that there are no weak teams in the region.

Jankovic, who has been involved with Chinese football since leading the U19 team in 2018, shrugged off concerns about job security. He asserted that coaching comes with the risk of being fired, but his focus is on pushing players to perform at their best. The Serbian coach remains committed to his role, stating that fear has no place in coaching, and he will continue striving to bring out the best in his players.

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