updated 7/17/2008 1:23:29 AM ET 2008-07-17T05:23:29

China dropped Ratomir Dujkovic as its Olympic soccer coach just three weeks before the start of the Beijing Games.

Dujkovic, who has been running the under-23 Olympic team since late 2006, was moved into another job and replaced by Yin Tiesheng.

“Dujkovic’s work has been changed. Now he is no longer directly in charge of the training and matches. That responsibility goes to Yin Tiesheng,” Li Xuan, media officer of the Chinese Olympic soccer team, said Thursday.

“Dujkovic will analyze the opponents and provide advice to the coach. The decision was announced to the team this morning.”

Yin, 52, was coach of Chinese league team Qingdao and head coach of China’s men’s under-20 team in 2004.

Li did not give a reason for the change. There was no immediate comment from Dujkovic.

Dujkovic, a Serbian, also took over as China’s national coach in January, but the team lost in the first round of qualification for the 2010 World Cup. The former Red Star Belgrade goalkeeper led Ghana to the second round at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

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