After a breathless few weeks during which the entire sporting world has been talking about Chinese football (with yours truly quoted by AFP three times, FT twice, El Pais, Hicimos, Vice Sports and interviewed by CCTV, BBC and Al Jazeera among others), let’s take a look at a few stories that could be cropping up over the next 12 months…
Alain Perrin, coach of the Chinese national men’s soccer team, should make sure his squad have a busy month. When they are not preparing for friendly games against Macedonia and Mali, he should take them out to the local bars, sit them down in front of the TV, buy them a nice non-alcoholic beverage, and make them watch as many World Cup matches as possible.
Wednesday’s Asian Cup draw paired China with Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Given those countries’ reputations, expect global headlines about a literal Group of Death:
- China – estimated to execute far more people than the rest of the world combined
- Saudi Arabia – no. 4 in the global list with 79 executions in 2013
- Uzbekistan – has what the IHF called a “wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights”, with the current government blamed for massacring hundreds in 2005. Continue reading China’s Group Of Death
There’s a particular official within Chinese soccer circles who has developed a habit of starting each press conference or meeting with the words “I don’t know anything about football, but…” The intent is clear: if (when) this all goes south (again), it’s not my fault.
The state’s control of Chinese football is a large reason for its poor performance over the years: what is needed is a long-term plan, but Chinese officialdom rewards short-term thinking.
Having a man in charge of the country who loves the game would appear to be a positive, but this week’s Sports Talk column looks at how Chinese President Xi Jinping’s love of soccer may not actually be such a good thing for the sport after all…
Travelling Chinese soccer fans had better start saving up for a busy 2015.
Days after accepting an invitation to play in the Copa America in Chile in June next year (subject to confirmation from the AFC), China will start 2015 in Australia playing in the Asian Cup after qualifying on Wednesday night.
But, as usual, China did it the hard way.
Lots of soccer news at the moment…
As per the excellent Wild East Football, China has accepted an invitation into the 2015 Copa America in Chile, as one of Conmebol’s two regular guest slots. No one will be expecting much from the Chinese, but competing at this level can only help the country’s quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The news that French football manager Alain Perrin (pictured below) has been appointed to lead the Chinese national team has caught most of the media by surprise, with my thoughts summarized in this Beijing Morning Post article (Chinese).
“Reggie”, as he was known in the UK – after the hapless TV character Reginald Perrin – when he briefly managed Portsmouth in the Premier League nearly a decade ago, seems to have lost his way and it is highly unlikely that he can get his career back on track in China.