Category Archives: Column

Lippi cashes in on China’s Mission Impossible

It clearly takes a lot to tempt Italian coaching legend Marcello Lippi out of retirement for one last job, but fortunately for him there are some very deep pockets in China.

While Lippi will be officially announced as the new coach of China’s national soccer team on Friday, reports have revealed that he and his team – of whom former Everton star Li Tie will be a part – will collect 20 million euros annually over an initial two-year term.

Given China’s precarious state in the final round of AFC qualifying – bottom of Group A after four games – it’s less like a final throw of the dice than a refusal to accept that the die has already been cast.

In the video below, China Sports Insider’s Mark Dreyer discusses the Lippi hiring on CCTV News, with Yan Qiang, Tian Wei and Simon Pusey: Continue reading Lippi cashes in on China’s Mission Impossible

China set for underdog role in World Cup qualifying

10 games over the next 12 months will determine whether or not China can qualify for the FIFA World Cup for just the second time in history. 

Continue reading China set for underdog role in World Cup qualifying

Pressure builds on China as problems circle Rio Olympics

China’s largest ever Olympic contingent of 411 athletes has brought expectations for a sizeable medal haul to Brazil. But with with local issues compounded by some wider – and more worrying – trends, it is no exaggeration to say that the Rio Olympics are facing potentially fatal headwinds.

The Rio Olympics are shaping up to be the most pivotal of recent times.

Not because the sporting action is any more anticipated than at previous Games – far from it – but because the Olympic concept has taken so many knocks in recent years that the very credibility of the Games is under threat.

Continue reading Pressure builds on China as problems circle Rio Olympics

Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Thousands of Chinese soccer fans went home very disappointed last Monday evening, following the cancellation of the much-anticipated Manchester derby, after rain the previous week had left the pitch at the Bird’s Nest stadium in an unplayable state. Coupled with less than stellar pre-season tours in previous years, it’s hard to see many top Premier League teams jumping at the chance to return to China, especially when trips to the US and elsewhere are so much more enjoyable.

The expected resumption of hostilities between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, the new coaches of City and United respectively, had shone an unusually bright spotlight on this pre-season friendly, which, unfortunately, only served to highlight the inadequacies of the event’s preparation.

Continue reading Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Horrific injury overshadows CSL’s latest star arrivals

The CSL’s summer transfer window saw yet another record fee paid, as more international players arrived in China, but the league’s top scorer, Demba Ba, is looking at months on the sidelines after a bad leg break.

It is a measure of how much the pulling power of the Chinese Super League (CSL) has exploded over the past year that the summer transfer window, which closed last week, contained a handful of blockbuster deals, but was still considered quieter than expected.

Continue reading Horrific injury overshadows CSL’s latest star arrivals

New soccer tournaments could see China gain global dominance

China’s long-term soccer plan calls for the country to be a global force in the game by 2050, but if China’s latest football project comes off, it would arguably become a major footballing power long before that.  

The plan has been laid out by the Chinese government, backed, of course, by President Xi Jinping, but the latest moves have come from one of the country’s biggest companies – Wanda, whose boss just happens to be China’s richest man.

Continue reading New soccer tournaments could see China gain global dominance

AC Milan’s Chinese saga nears end as rumor mill grinds on

AC Milan is the latest in a long line of European football targets picked out by Chinese investors – and it won’t be the last.

On the football pitch, the Italians are known for a slow, tactical style that, while effective, can bore an opponent into submission.

Off the pitch, it may also be a similar story.

Continue reading AC Milan’s Chinese saga nears end as rumor mill grinds on

Long road to NBA for Chinese duo

Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin become first Chinese players drafted for nine years, but both face an uphill battle to play in the NBA.

A year ago, ice hockey player Song Andong was touted as China’s next big sporting star after being drafted by the NHL’s New York Islanders, then swiftly promoted as one of the faces of China’s 2022 Winter Olympic Games bid campaign. This spring, it is the turn of two Chinese basketball players, Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin, who were drafted by the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively.

Continue reading Long road to NBA for Chinese duo