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China coach Dujkovic targets final at Doha

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Nov 23 (Reuters) China Olympic team coach Ratomir Dujkovic threw caution to the wind and declared the national team would strive for at least a silver medal at the Asian Games, local media reported today.

Dujkovic, last month appointed to take the youth team to glory at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said China just needed fortune on its side.

''If we are lucky enough during the games, then our team's goal will be to break into the final,'' Dujkovic told the Beijing Youth Daily, as the players arrived in Doha on Tuesday.

China is currently 84th in the world and 11th in the Asian Football Confederation, according to FIFA rankings.

Pooled in second round Group E with Oman, Malaysia and the winner of first round Group B, China will play a warm-up match against their Asian Games hosts, Qatar tomorrow.

Dujkovic, who successfully took charge of the youth team with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in a friendly last week, said China would not be taking the warm-up lightly.

''Due to the Asian Cup and the CFA Cup, we have not trained as a full team for a long time. So, this game will be very important for the players' lead-up.'' He nominated Iraq, pooled in first round Group B, as China's likely obstacle to advancing beyond the initial group stage.

''They are a strong team'', he said.

The 15th Asian Games open in Doha on Dec 1.

REUTERS AY KN1433

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