Dutchman takes over China's U-19 soccer team

Updated: 2011-08-18 08:15

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

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Dutchman takes over China's U-19 soccer team

SHNEZHEN - Dutchman Jan Olde Riekerink was appointed head coach of China's Under-19 national team when he signed a five-year contract with the Chinese Football Association (CFA) in Beijing on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old, who worked at Jong Ajax, the reserve team of Dutch club AFC Ajax, as head of youth development over the past four years, will help China establish a youth development system and prepare a squad for the 2016 Olympic Games during his tenure

"We have a very clear target this time, which is to introduce a leading soccer philosophy to China and set up a youth system within three to five years," said CFA chief Wei Di.

Before joining the national squad, Riekerink had already started to help the CFA in youth development and training sessions. He said he was confident about raising Chinese youth soccer to a new level.

"I came to China for the first time with Ajax 11 years ago, and I have gained some knowledge about Chinese soccer, as well as the status of youth development," said Riekerink, who has coached several Dutch national players, including Wesley Sneijder and Johnny Heitinga.

"I found there are many capable players in China, but they sometimes don't play to their potential," he said. "I hope I can make a contribution to Chinese soccer with my experience. I believe I will bring the Chinese U-19 team to a higher level.

"Meanwhile, we also have to know that not only me, but also all the players, coaches and youth trainers must work towards this goal; nobody can achieve this target alone."

Riekerink is the second foreign coach to join the China program this month after the CFA signed Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho as coach of the senior team on Aug 14. Like Camacho, who has received a fixed contract despite whatever the Chinese senior team's results are in the 2014 World Cup preliminaries, Riekerink's contract will also not be related to the U-19 team's performance at the AFC U-19 Championship and FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The Dutchman said the participation of Camacho would provide a boost for Chinese soccer and was confident the pair could lift the status of Chinese soccer.

The Chinese U-19 team failed to qualify for the 2011 U-20 World Cup after being eliminated by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the quarterfinals of the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship on home soil under domestic coach Su Maozhen, who has been excluded from the new coaching regime.

China Daily

(China Daily 08/18/2011 page24)