Big things expected in second year

Updated: 2013-03-07 07:42

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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Guangzhou R&F

Despite what he called "a frustrating season" in his first year in the Chinese Super League, Sergio Farias has not given up on his ambition to lead Guangzhou R&F to AFC Champions League qualification this year.

"I am very satisfied with the team's preparations for the upcoming season. We have introduced some experienced players who will help improve our competitiveness," said Farias (pictured), head coach of Guangzhou R&F.

Several star players, including Wu Pingfeng and Li Jianhua, former players with city rival Guangzhou Evergrande, and national team defender Zhang Yaokun, have moved to Guangzhou R&F.

"The attacking line will be improved a lot this season. I am only worried about the defense because we have fewer options," he said during a banquet hosted by the club to launch the opening of the new season.

The introduction of Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni, a former striker with English Premier League club Blackburn, last season will help improve the team's strength, he said.

"We don't have new signings of foreign players this year because my goal is to bring in more Chinese players. And I believe they will do well in the near future," he said.

Before taking the managerial position at Guangzhou R&F in November 2011, Farias claimed an AFC Champions League title in 2009 with the K-League's Pohang Steelers.

Big things expected in second year

"You reporters should know that there are only two renowned coaches in the Chinese league. One is World Cup winner Marcello Lippi, the other is me because I won an Asian champions title," Farias said.

Winning a continental cup with the South Korean side four years ago has no doubt boosted the Brazilian coach's confidence.

"When I signed a two-year contract with Guangzhou R&F I had hopes beyond the domestic league - to lead the team to Asian champions competition. And we actually moved steadily toward that goal at the beginning of the last season," he said.

However, Farias failed to realize that goal as the Guangzhou side finished the season with 13 wins, three draws and 14 losses. which saw it finish seventh in the league table.

"For me, the last season was an unsuccessful start in the Chinese league. With more financial input from the club and adjustments of the squad, we will be more competitive in the coming season," he said.

The club has introduced an incentive system for the new season - 1 million yuan ($160,000) for a win, 500,000 yuan for a draw and nothing for a loss.

Also, Guangzhou R&F will return to its home field at the Yuexiushan Stadium, where it has claimed seven consecutive wins since the beginning of last season.

"The Yuexiushan Stadium is a lucky place for us. We want to create better performances this year," said Lu Yi, vice-chairman of Guangzhou R&F.