Chinese Football Association (CFA) head Wei Di says the appointment of Jose Antonio Camacho as the new national team coach is part of a long-term plan to help the nation catch up with neighbours Japan and South Korea.
The 56-year-old Spaniard signed a three-year deal with the CFA on Sunday to replace Gao Hongbo, just three weeks out from their opening third round 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier in Singapore.
However, Wei told Xinhua the appointment wasn't merely about qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, but rather developing a long-term plan for football in China.
"Compared with our neighbours Japan and South Korea, Chinese football is lagging far behind," Wei said.
"We need to work with a long-term view and start to catch up with a pragmatic approach."
Camacho's appointment leaves him little time to prepare for their third round World Cup qualifiers, with China having only once qualified for the international tournament in 2002.
However, Wei added: "A lot of our fans expect China to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
"They are afraid that changing the coach at the last moment may cause bad effect to the team's qualifying prospect. I can totally understand that. But we do not have any time to waste."
Chinese Soccer Administrative Centre vice-president Yu Hongchen said even if Camacho failed to guide the team to qualification for the 2014 event, the Spaniard would retain his job.
"Appointing Camacho is part of our long-term revival plan," Yu said. "The qualifying stage of 2014 World Cup is just a temporary task for him. Even if the task is failed, he will not lose the job."
He added: "When we started to find a new coach for the national team, we mainly focus on European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
"First of all, they have advanced football concepts, and secondly they have a productive youth training system, which we can learn from.
"After a year's careful estimating and selecting, we finally chose Camacho as our new coach. We hope he can help us to find a suitable style."
Camacho told reporters upon the announcement on Sunday that he knew it was a highly-pressured and complicated job to take on.
The Spaniard becomes the seventh foreigner to be handed the role, with only Bora Milutinovic able to steer China to the World Cup finals.
"I became accustomed to pressure when I started playing for Real Madrid at 17. I will meet enormous expectations from Chinese fans and the Chinese society after taking over the team," Camacho said.
"Pressure to me is something beautiful. For me and my crew, our short-term goal is to lead China to qualify for the World Cup, but this is a very complicated mission."