Branko Ivankovic Takes Helm: New Coach for China’s Men’s Football Team

Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic has been appointed as the new head of China’s men’s football team, succeeding Aleksandar Jankovic, according to the Chinese Football Association (CFA). This decision comes as part of the CFA’s strategy to better prepare for the Asian qualifiers of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Ivankovic, aged 69, brings with him a wealth of experience, having previously led Shandong Taishan to victory in the Chinese Super League (CSL) in 2010.

In a statement, the CFA explained, “To better prepare for the Asian section of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers, the CFA, after discussions among experts, decided to hire Branko Ivankovic as the coach of China’s men’s national football team.”

Ivankovic’s coaching career includes stints with various teams, including managing the national teams of Iran and Oman. Notably, he guided Iran to a gold medal in men’s football at the 2002 Asian Games held in Busan, South Korea. His most recent coaching role was with Oman from 2020 to 2024, where the team faced challenges in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar earlier this year.

China had a parallel record to Oman in the recent AFC tournament under Jankovic’s leadership. After two goalless draws against Tajikistan and Lebanon, China suffered a 1-0 defeat to Qatar, preventing them from advancing to the knockout stage. Following this outcome, the CFA decided to terminate the contracts of the coaching staff, expressing appreciation for Jankovic’s efforts during his tenure since February 2023. The team concluded Jankovic’s leadership with four wins, four draws, and seven losses in the 15 matches played.

The CFA’s announcement signals a new chapter for China’s national football team under the guidance of Branko Ivankovic as they set their sights on future competitions and aspirations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *