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Lippi says he is open to national coach position

By Tang Zhe | | Updated: 2013-03-27 20:57

Guangzhou Evergrande head coach Marcello Lippi has been widely tipped to replace Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho as head of the Chinese national team next year.

According to Wang Dong, a popular host on CCTV's English channel, Lippi said he was open to the opportunity to coach the national lineup in an interview on Monday.

Three days earlier, Lippi, along with Evergrande boss Xu Jiayin, was invited to watch the national team's Asian Cup qualifier against Iraq in Changsha, Hunan province, by Cai Zhenhua, a deputy of the State General Administration of Sport, who is in charge of soccer. China won the Friday night game 1-0.

Lippi and Cai were reported to have had a discussion during halftime of the game, with Cai asking for Lippi's advice on how the team should be configured in the second half.

Nine Evergrande players are in the national squad, which may give the Italian even more leverage.

The Chinese Football Association signed a three-year contract with Camacho through the sponsorship of Dalian Wanda Group in August 2011. However, under the guidance of the Spaniard, the Chinese team has managed only seven wins in 17 games and suffered an early departure from World Cup qualifying. Its international ranking has slipped to an all-time worst 109.

The CFA would face a huge payout to the Spaniard, and his coaching team, if it voids his contract prematurely.

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