China coach confident ahead of World Cup qualifiers-Xinhua

China coach confident ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-11-16 14:40:16

China national football team head coach Aleksandar Jankovic (L) speaks ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 15, 2023. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

China head coach Aleksandar Jankovic says his team is ready to begin its quest to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

BANGKOK, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- China men's national football team head coach Aleksandar Jankovic said he was confident ahead of the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with China set to visit Thailand in the opening match on Thursday.

Having overseen three wins, two draws and three defeats since his appointment in February, Jankovic was not coy on his ambitions for China to reach international football's showpiece tournament.

"We are all excited to be in the beginning of a big competition, of course I think China is ready for this, all the players should be motivated and excited," he said in Wednesday's pre-match press conference.

"We all have high and very clear targets and of course everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to make the step towards the World Cup, it's the biggest possible challenge in football and [I'm] happy to share this experience with the players," he added.

Jankovic instructs his players during a training session in Shenzhen, Nov. 11, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Chinese Football Association)   

China is in Group C with Thailand, South Korea and Singapore at this stage.

Despite some disappointing recent results, including home defeats to Syria and Uzbekistan earlier this year, Jankovic shrugged off comments claiming China's football has declined in the last decade.

"I just repeat that we are all very motivated and excited to be here at the opening of the new chapter, I will never make comments on the comments of the others. We all know, inside we are very motivated, we have qualities and values. We are ready to do everything, start the competition well to be at the level of expectations of the whole country," he noted.

Jankovic added that the presence of naturalized players in the China squad was of no consequence.

"Naturalized or not naturalized players are all players of China, all these players are motivated and the honor is here." 


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