• Current China PR interim head coach Gao Hongbo was a striker in the early 1990s.

Current China PR interim head coach Gao Hongbo was a striker in the early 1990s. (Photo : Getty Images)

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has named ex-national player and former national team coach Gao Hongbo as the current national team coach, as reported by China Daily.

Gao, who was a striker in the early 1990s, took over as interim coach of the national team after the departure of the French Alain Perrin, who was dismissed last month due to the team's poor performance in the qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup, according to the CFA website.

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Having already coached from 2009 to 2011, Gao now has the task of guiding the team through what remains of the qualifying tournament.

After a loss and two draws during the first phase of the qualifiers, China has missed its chance at a direct berth to the final stage. Now, it only has a slim chance to qualify depending on the results of the other teams.

On March 24, China will play against the Maldives at home. Five days later, China will play another home match against Qatar to play for a possibility of qualifying for Russia.

According to Lin Xiaohua of the CFA executive committee, Gao is the most suitable choice at the moment.

"The remaining two games will come very soon," said Lin on Wednesday, Feb. 3, during the draw ceremony for the 2016 CFA Cup. "We need a coach who understands the conditions of all the national team players as well as our opponents' strength and weakness in Asia. Gao was second to none to take the post under the current situation."

When he was playing, Gao was known as a prolific scorer, and he imparted his offensive philosophy when he coached the national team in the past.

Gao led the national team to a 3-0 victory against South Korea at the East Asia Cup in Feb. 2010. This ended China's 32-year losing streak against South Korea.

Under Gao, China recorded 23 wins and 38 international goals. He was later replaced by Jose Antonio Camacho in 2011.

Before the CFA decided on Gao, other confirmed candidates included Brazilian Zico, former national manager for Japan, and Cesare Prandelli, ex-Italian football coach.