A great honor-AFC coach of the year nominee

Updated: 2006-11-15 09:06

Ma Liangxing, the man who led the Chinese women's national team to the AFC Women's Asian Cup title in July, has expressed his delight on the twin nominations bagged by him and his charges for prestigious year-end AFC awards.

While Ma is a strong candidate for AFC Coach of the Year accolade, his team, who defeated Australia in the final to be crowned Asian champions, are vying for AFC Women's Team of the Year award.

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"It is my great honor to be nominated as one of the AFC best coaches of the year. It is due to great team work that China won the AFC Women's Asian Cup this year," Ma told www.the-afc.com.

When asked about the other aspirants, Ma said he wouldn't be surprised if DPR Korea U-20 women's coach Choe Kwang-sok, who steered his team to the FIFA U-20 Women's Championship title after defeating China, scooped the honor.

"I think Choe Kwang-sok should win this title. The DPR Korea women's team's performance was excellent this year."

With the Asian Games in Doha looming, Ma is currently in a training camp in Hangzhou. But the demanding trainer was not happy with the way things were shaping up.

"Our progress has been slow these last few years and I have been trying to speed up things. However, we have to spend more time on improving ourselves," he said.

"I am not totally satisfied with our preparation for the Doha Asian Games. We have played only two friendlies and in these our rivals were not very strong. We will play New Zealand tomorrow but this is not enough.

"As the head coach, I must set a high target for the whole team so that everyone can work harder to achieve that goal. It isn't easy to win the title as Japan, South Korea, DPR Korea are all in better shape and quality, especially the last team."

With the Women's World Cup going back to China in September 2007, Ma said there was much more to be done if the hosts are to make an impression.

"We are facing challenges from all directions. We still need to improve our ability to be more competitive in the World Cup next year," he said.

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