Marcello Lippi, who became manager of the Chinese men’s national soccer team for a second time on May 24, has been talking about his new contract and coaching goals in an interview with CCTV5. The 71-year-old manager said there’s no promise that he can lead China to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Lippi said that his contract with the Chinese Football Association (CFA) includes two stages, just like the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). If China are eliminated before making the finals of the 12-team competition, his contract will come to an end automatically.
“I have made no long-term goal because it’s pointless,” he said. “Our goal is to go to Qatar in 2022. The AFC qualifiers are made up of two stages. If we cannot pass the first one, then we will be knocked out and there’s no point for me to stay here anymore. My contract will be over.”
When asked about why he chose to come back, Lippi replied: “I went back home after seven years in China. Though I turned down all extension offers when I left, I realized that, after three, four months at home, it’s important that people have such appreciation for and expectation on me. So I decided to respond to these feelings.”
Lippi told CCTV5 that he gave the CFA a lot of suggestions including establishing youth leagues, growing China’s own manager teams, developing their own training models and building a system that seeks overseas players. The Italian manager believed that China must do such work by itself because that’s the only way for the country to improve its soccer development.
“These things should have started 10, or 15 years ago. However, since there’s no soccer culture here and thus there’s no storage of any similar work. When I first came to China eight years ago, no club even had their own youth development model.”
At the end of the interview, Lippi said: “Can we make the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar? I don’t know. We will work on it and spare no efforts. If we succeed, it will be great and we will celebrate; if we fail, I will hug everyone and then go home. That’s how work and life go. You invest all your passion in one thing, it can lead to success or to failure.”