BEIJING, March. 12 -- History is repeating itself and its a sad reprise for China women's soccer.
In the ongoing Algarve Cup in southern Portugal, China suffered three straight losses (to the US, Norway and Italy, respectively), forcing head coach Elisabeth Loisel to the edge of the cliff she's been approaching for months.
The embattled Frenchwoman is set to follow in the footsteps of last year's Chinese coach Wang Haiming, who was sacked as soon as the team returned home from the Algarve Cup.
Wang also led his team to rock bottom in last year's tournament, losing all three group matches before a shocking 4-1 drubbing at the hands of minnow Iceland in the ninth-place playoff.
Wang was replaced by Loisel's predecessor Marika Domanski-Lyfors.
The future of China women's soccer head coach Elisabeth Loisel hangs in balance after the team suffered three consecutive losses in the on-going Algarve Cup in Portugal. Zhongti
Though China still has a playoff match with Portugal today, the result will have little bearing on Loisel's future.
Adding to her misery is her relationship with players, which has been deteriorating since China's opening loss to the US.
Loisel refused to take any responsibility for China's worst-ever result against a US side, claiming all the players made too many mistakes and should be blamed for the loss.
Relations strained further when she erupted at her players in the lobby on Monday after an ugly showing against Italy.
"You did not try all the best and I am so disappointed with you. It was a really bad performance," the coach shouted at her players, according to reports.
It is clear Loisel is unable to control her team and has lost her credibility as a leader.
She has been heavily scrutinized for her dispute with team official Zhang Jianqiang last month and Chinese officials and players accused her of frequently arriving late to daily training.
Things escalated when Loisel ordered players not to attend a hotpot dinner arranged by Zhang because of dietary concerns. Zhang and Chinese officials hit back, overruling the hotpot ban and issuing a public rebuke against Loisel, ordering the coach to keep out of off-pitch affairs.
Loisel tried to keep silent and fought back by trying to inspire her players to stage strong performances. But, if anything, her efforts seemed to backfire.
Since the hotpot row broke out last month, the women's team has only won once (against Republic of Korea) and forced a draw with Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The team has lost five straight games since then.
The under-pressure coach defended herself as a victim of the infighting, saying it's impossible to coach well in such an acrimonious environment.
"So many things happened recently and the situation is bad for the coaching job. I could not expect any good result from my players," she said.
So far Loisel has refused to comment on the possibility of getting fired by China Football Association (CFA) and she still insists Zhang should leave if she continues to coach the team.
"I have asked the chief official of CFA to replace Zhang. He did a lot of bad things to the players and our coaching team. He even asked the players not to play their best game against Norway," Loisel said.
"It's got me angry and I do not think I can cooperate with him anymore."
(Source: China Daily)