Sweden's Marika Domanski-Lyfors has set a goal of lifting China's struggling women's football team into the FIFA Women's World Cup semi-finals after being given the reins of the 'Steel Roses' until 2008.
The China Football Association announced the appointment of the former Swedish women's coach on Tuesday until the end of next year, making her the first foreigner to coach the Chinese national team.
Domanski-Lyfors said she was confident of turning around China's fortunes in time for the FIFA Women's World Cup on home turf in September, after a recent run of rusty performances.
"My main goal is to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. The team will have many warm-ups and training sessions. I am confident we will do a good job in preparing the team," she told reporters, according to the China Daily.
Domanski-Lyfors said she would not be overawed by the heavy pressure that will inevitably come as China seeks to reverse a slide that has seen the team fall to ninth in the world rankings.
"I was under a lot of pressure when I coached Sweden in the final of the last World Cup, so I know I can face it all," she said, adding there was enough talent in the squad to raise hopes of a quick return to form.
"China's women's team is very young and needs more experience. But they have great potential. I am confident we can work together to improve the team."
Domanski-Lyfors stepped down in 2005 after nine years as coach of the Swedish national team, leading them to the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2003 where they lost to Germany.
Wednesday's report did not mention her salary.
Her appointment is aimed at ending a tumultuous period for Chinese women's football, which saw the squad return from Europe this month having lost six games in a row, including to Iceland and Finland.
Previous coach Ma Liangxing quit in January citing heart problems, though Chinese press have speculated his resignation had more to do with a falling out with officials amid the team's decline.