Italian legend Fabio Cannavaro appointed coach of China national team


Italian World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was named coach of China on Friday, spearheading the ambitious country’s attempts to become a soccer force at last.

The 45-year-old former defender will combine the job with being coach of Chinese Super League giants Guangzhou Evergrande, making him one of the most powerful figures in Chinese soccer history.

He takes the post vacated in January by his mentor and compatriot Marcello Lippi, under whom Cannavaro lifted the World Cup in 2006.

The 70-year-old Lippi will be a consultant under the new coaching set-up named for the upcoming China Cup, the Chinese Football Association said.

It was not immediately clear if Cannavaro will lead the team on a temporary or permanent basis.

His first match in charge of the national side will be next Thursday, when the hosts play Thailand in the China Cup, which also involves Uruguay and Uzbekistan.