Table tennis coach to head Chinese FA

first_imgChina’s former table tennis coach was named head of the national soccer association on Tuesday in the latest bid to lift the country’s dismal performance in the sport.China dominates world table tennis and Cai Zhenhua’s appointment speaks to the nation’s hopes that those winning ways will rub off on its footballers.China have only qualified for one World Cup, in 2002, and their poor football results contrast starkly with the country’s stellar performance in other sports. Although China came second in the medal tally at the London Olympics, the football team stand at 92 in FIFA’s world rankings, one rung above tiny Estonia.Local analysts say China’s problems are deep seated, with not enough young people enrolled in football academies and a weak domestic league. Corruption has also been a serious issue, with two former association heads among eight officials and players sentenced in 2012 for taking bribes and other crimes.Cai was a world table tennis champion and head coach of the men’s team from 1991-2004, a period when China won repeated Olympic and world championships.His most pressing task will be hiring a head coach for the men’s national team, leaderless since the firing of Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho in June.last_img read more