China News Agency, Beijing, November 25. Question: Milu Dialogue with Su Maozhen: How can Chinese football "break out of Asia" again?

  China News Agency reporter Bian Liqun

  Bora Milutinovic, the Chinese used to call him "Milu".

In 2001, when he was the head coach of the national football team, he helped Chinese football successfully enter the World Cup for the first time.

He has also served as the coach of national teams such as Mexico, Costa Rica, the United States, and Nigeria. He is the only "magic coach" in the history of world football who has led different national teams to the top 16 of the World Cup for four consecutive times.

  Su Maozhen, a former international footballer, played in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.

As a striker on the field, he has won the Golden Boot and Golden Globe in the top domestic football leagues; after retiring, he has coached the China National Youth League, Qingdao Manatee and other teams, and participated in the Beijing Olympics as an assistant coach of the Chinese Olympic team .

Video: [Dongxiq·chinadialogue] Milu says he dares to take over the current national football team

Source: China News Network

  How does Chinese football go out of Asia and into the world again?

And how to rectify the accumulated disadvantages and accumulate strength for the future?

China News Agency's "East-West Questions China Dialogue" recently invited Milu and Su Maozhen to have a dialogue.

  In Milu's view, Chinese football should look forward optimistically, and at the same time use long-term planning to guide youth training, and systematically do a good job in talent training.

In terms of selecting coaches for the national team, we must pay attention to selecting experienced coaches who have empathy with Chinese fans.

  As a football practitioner, Su Maozhen believes that the current Chinese football youth training work is on the right path, but the efforts made are far from enough, and more youth competitions are needed.

In terms of player selection, he called for avoiding short-term utilitarianism and selecting more talented and more valuable seedlings.

Video: [Dongxiq·chinadialogue] Su Maozhen: Chinese football's efforts are not enough

Source: China News Network

The following is an excerpt from the conversation:

China News Agency reporter: What impresses you the most about the Korea-Japan World Cup?


I was very impressed by the final game against Oman in the world preliminaries. I am very happy for the Chinese people.

When I saw Su Maozhen, I remembered his goal against South Korea in the Asian Cup, which was very beautiful.

Su Maozhen:

As Milu said, what impressed me the most was the moment after the match with Oman. We decided to go out of Asia and go to the world, and the whole stadium was boiling.

Our team was also very happy and threw Milu high.

In 2001, at the Wulihe Stadium in Shenyang, the Chinese men's football team defeated Oman 1-0 to advance to the World Cup in Korea and Japan.

China News Agency reporter: If you go back 20 years, what regrets do you want to make up for?


I have no regrets, the players did their best.

There are wins and losses in the game, and what is more important is that the players try their best, know what they should do, and play with wisdom.

We have so many great memories, which is great.

Su Maozhen: Being

able to participate in the World Cup is the greatest honor for a player, and I feel very proud.

If we could win a game at that time, it would be more perfect.

China News Agency reporter: Chinese football has changed a lot in the past 20 years. What do you think of the outside world's saying that "one generation of Chinese players is not as good as one generation"?


I can only comment on the teams I have led.

I have a very good team, they have a great attitude and fighting spirit, they do everything to win the game.

I am very happy to be able to coach this group of players and have the support of everyone.

Video: [Dongxiq·chinadialogue] Milu responds to Chinese players saying "one generation is not as good as one generation"

Source: China News Network

Su Maozhen:

Our youth training is on the right track, but our efforts are far from enough. Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and other former second- and third-tier national teams in Asia are all rising, and we still need to continue to work hard.

China News Agency reporter: How do you view the significance of youth training to Chinese football?

What problems exist?


I went to a football school in Qingdao not long ago. I saw a lot of children playing football. It was unexpectedly good and left a deep impression on me.

Youth training must be systematic, with long-term planning to guide how to do it; coaches are also very important, they must know how to teach children, these need to be guided by the youth training outline.

Su Maozhen:

The first problem is the selection of materials.

I think it's more about picking kids with skill, speed and tactical awareness, not just big guys who can't read the game.

We should not choose players for short-term results, but choose more talented players who are more valuable for training in the future.

Also, we have to have more youth games where players only improve.

  We see that a large number of youth football coaches are not professional football or professional background, which affects the quality of coaches.

In addition to experience, an excellent youth football coach must also be patient, like to be with children, know how to get along with children, how to encourage and educate them, and then guide the children at the technical and tactical level.

Youth football coaches need to possess many qualities, some of which are not even possessed by adult team coaches.

Data map.

Photo by Zhang Lang

Reporter from China News Agency: The Guozihao echelon has also struggled more and more when facing Asian teams that were not so strong in the past, such as Thailand and Malaysia. How do you view this phenomenon?


I think it takes a pair of eyes to discover good players.

For example, yesterday I taught two little boys to play football, they were about 12 or 13 years old, and they played very badly.

You need to have a good eye to see who is playing well and who is not playing well.

Su Maozhen:

I coached the national youth team around 2009. At that time, we played against Vietnam, Malaysia and other teams. They would pose a threat, but it was not as obvious as it is now.

It is still that our Chinese football has not made great progress, and there are problems in youth training, so we must persist in making great efforts to train outstanding young people.

China News Agency reporter: There are 8.5 places in the Asian region for the 2026 World Preliminaries. Has the opportunity for Chinese football increased?


It doesn't matter how many teams participate in the World Cup.

Our Chinese team qualified first in the group in the world preliminaries, which was the best performance.

Now we should actively prepare, don't think about our opponents, but develop young players.

In addition, there are many important games to be played. As long as I have this experience and work hard, I believe that the Chinese team will advance to the next World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Video: [Dongxiq·chinadialogue] Milu says the national football team will advance to the next World Cup

Source: China News Network

Su Maozhen:

We have great opportunities, but the competition is getting bigger and bigger.

Not to mention traditional Asian teams such as Japan, South Korea, and Iran, Thailand, Vietnam, and Jordan and Syria in West Asia also have more opportunities.

China News Agency reporter:

What qualities does Milu think is necessary to be the coach of the national football team at this stage?

Foreign handsome or local handsome is more suitable?

If you have the opportunity to coach the Chinese team again, would you dare to take over?


It's very simple. You need vision and experience, and you need to work hard to fully understand the players.

He needs to enjoy it, have fun with it.

I don't think the nationality of the coach is very important, nor is the age. The only important thing is experience. You must know how to play and empathize with Chinese fans. It was not difficult for me at the time.

  It (takes over) no problem, no pressure.

If you stay optimistic, everything will be fine.

I like to focus on the future, what to do next is more important, what has already happened cannot be changed.

So now you have to think about how you can get to the World Cup, which is very exciting.

China News Agency reporter: Now the outside world looks at Chinese football practitioners very strictly. If you return to the status of players and coaches, how will you two face this situation?


I think the fans' criticism has softened a bit now.

I remember when the team was not playing well, the fans shouted "Milu dismissed get out of class".

But the important thing is to have confidence, to trust your players and do what needs to be done.

Su Maozhen:

Now the outside world may be a little harsh on football practitioners, sometimes lacking some respect.

But I can understand.

Because the performance of Chinese football is not good now, we practitioners need to be more determined to study and study hard to improve the level of Chinese football.

China News Agency reporter: When do you predict that Chinese football will be able to enter the World Cup again?


The next time Chinese football participates in the World Cup is the World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Su Maozhen:

Like Milu, we all hope that the Chinese team can qualify for the next World Cup.