(Reuters) - Former Portugal coach Paul Bento has taken over as head coach of Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan, the club said on Monday.
Bento, who led his native Portugal to the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014, replaced South Korea’s Chang Woe-ryong and has been tasked with keeping Chongqing in China’s top flight while bringing players from the academy into the first team.
“It is very rare in professional football for a coach to be given a long-term role and I’m very lucky to have this one,” Bento said.
“I will try my best not to let the chairman and the corporation down.
“Besides coaching the first team, we will also work heavily on the youth system and we will try to bring more young players through to the first team.”
Chongqing finished 10th last season, the club’s second campaign under Chang.
“Hiring Mr Bento is not only about the club’s short term vision but is part of a long term strategy,” club chairman Zhang Lizhang said.
“Having a new coach in position is part of having a healthy vision. It is about building the youth system, the first team and grassroots through schools. We want depth and width.”
Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Ed Osmond