Sports / Soccer

Hao's resignation leaves China's 'Steel Roses' hanging in air

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-09 11:28

WUHAN, China - Chinese women's soccer team, dubbed the "Steel Roses", can never see their return to glory on a smooth road.

Right after they lost all three matches in East Asian Cup here, their head coach Hao Wei confirmed his resignation.

"I have been feeling entangled during the tournament, I want to win the games. I feel my ability is not strong enough and I want to enrich my knowhow," said Hao. "Maybe it's a good idea to learn from more experienced coaches."

Hao's team fell to Japan 2-0 on Saturday night following their 1-0 loss to South Korea and 3-2 defeat by eventual champions DPR Korea.

"They played the domestic league after the World Cup and some of them also took part in the World University Games. The girls have been pretty tired both mentally and physically," Hao explained about their worst result in the East Asian Cup since women's competition was added in the program in 2005.

Hao's resignation and their performance here dampened enthusiasm that flared up from the Chinese team's top eight finish in Canada's World Cup in June.

In Canada, China completed their first trip to the World Cup in eight years with one win, one draw and two losses, and the tournament was viewed as a sign of the Chinese team back on the world map.

Chinese women soccer players had their years of glory when in the 1999 World Cup, China claimed the runners-up position and in 1996 Olympics, they also bagged a silver, both times losing to eventual winners the U.S.

But since the start of the new century, the team had been on a downward slide, even failing to qualify for the 2011 World Cup in Germany until they produced some stunning performance in Canada.

With Hao leaving, the team's future seemed to hang in the air. There is no clue as who will take over and former international striker Sun Wen, member of 1996 Olympic and 1999 Word Cup squad, received a vote of confidence from the fans.

Sun, however, played down the possibility.

"Hao's leaving is a big loss for the team. The girls have potential and at same time need to steel themselves up with more competition," said Sun. "But I don't think I will be the one who can coach them. I prefer jobs behind the scenes."

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