Despite China’s disappointing performance in the 2023 Asian Cup, coach Aleksandar Jankovic remains optimistic about the future of Chinese football. China faced a 0-1 defeat against host Qatar, finishing the group stage with two points and failing to score a goal, marking their worst performance since their debut in the Asian Cup in 1976.
Coach Jankovic expressed his disappointment at the press conference after the match but maintained hope for Chinese football’s progress. He emphasized the ongoing improvement in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, stating, “Chinese football will never go backwards.”
Responding to questions about whether Chinese football is in decline, Coach Jankovic acknowledged diverse opinions but argued against drawing conclusions from a single incident. He pointed out the disputed goal in the opening match against Tajikistan and the missed opportunities in the Qatar match, highlighting the narrow gap between teams in Asian football.
Having been with Chinese football since leading the U19 team in 2018, Jankovic remains resilient despite facing potential dismissal. He asserted that coaches either get fired or wait to be fired, emphasizing the need to push players to perform at their best. Despite the challenges, Coach Jankovic maintains his commitment to Chinese football and the ongoing development of the team.