Guus Hiddinck has been appointed head coach of the Chinese U-21 team with the objective to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) confirmed on Monday.
The former Real Madrid and Netherlands boss will take China’s U-21 side through the 2020 Asian Under-21 Championship, which serves as the continent’s final qualifiers for the Olympic Games. The tournament is a biennial competition which features 16 teams from across Asia.
"The team will be prepared for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship qualification with the aims of sealing a place at the Men's Football Tournament of the 2020 Olympic Games," a statement by the CFA reads.
The Asian giant has not appeared at the Olympic football finals since 2008, when Beijing hosted the Games.
Latest big name in China
The 71-year-old becomes the latest big name to join Chinese football as president Xi Jinping stated his desire for the nation to become a global power in the sport.
Hiddinck has had a lengthy career in management at both club and international level. He has previously coached clubs such as PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea, Valencia and Real Madrid, among others, as well as Holland, South Korea, Russia and Australia’s national teams.
During his spell in charge of South Korea, he led the team to their first and only World Cup semifinals on home soil in 2002.
Hiddinck’s last job in football was as interim manager of Chelsea during the 2015-16 campaign, when he helped the club finish 10th in the Premier League after a poor start to the season under José Mourinho.