Cannavaros mission - New Evergrande coach to build all-Chinese team

Sports | 10 Nov 2017

Fabio Cannavaro has been tasked with building an all-Chinese team that can maintain Guangzhou Evergrande's domestic dominance after being appointed their new head coach.

The Italian was handed a five-year deal at the same club that fired him in 2015 and replaces Luiz Felipe Scolari, who left after guiding Evergrande to the last three Chinese Super League titles and the 2015 Asian Champions League crown.

Cannavaro had a seven-month stint at Guangzhou when he took over from Marcello Lippi in late 2014, only to be fired in June the following year and replaced by Scolari.

"I'm very honored and happy to be back here," Cannavaro said. "Before leaving here last time I had said that I would come back one day.

"Evergrande's plan for the upcoming years excites me very much and strongly motivates me. We will need to bring as many Chinese talents through as possible while keeping winning as always."

The 44-year-old World Cup- winning defender rebuilt his coaching career with a stint at Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia before returning to China to steer Tianjin Quanjian to the second division title in 2016. He resigned earlier this week after guiding Tianjin to third place in the top flight in the just-completed season and a spot in the Asian Champions League for the first time.

Evergrande owner Xu Jiayin said their goal was to have a successful team made up entirely of homegrown talent.

"We will look to gradually reduce our need for foreign players and we hope to maintain the team's quality by 2020, but with a fully Chinese squad," said Xu. "But we don't want an all- Chinese team and have our standards drop.

"The coach has signed a five-year contract with us, so that means he will be part of the process through to 2020. He is quite confident, too, that Evergrande will be a strong team even when it is all-Chinese."

REUTERS

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