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.
First it was David Beckham, now it’s the entire English Premier League. After Becks made three visits to China this year
to make money as a special ambassador for the Chinese Super League, a deal has been signed between the English Premier League and the Chinese Super League (CSL), to coincide with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s current trip to China.
Hong Kong has been drawing lots of negative attention this week – specifically the semi-flooded state of the Hong Kong Stadium pitch, on which the Barclays Asia Trophy is being played. It consists of 3 EPL teams and a local side sliding through puddles under the guise of vaguely competitive soccer.
There have been a couple of fantastic, long-form articles written in recent days about sport in this part of the world. The first comes from Brook Larmer, author of the 2005 book Operation Yao Ming which details the rise of China’s most famous sporting son. Writing in the New York Times, Larmer turns his attention to golf, describing a fascinating picture of the wealthy, driven parents of kids as young as eight essentially creating their own mini versions of the state-backed sports schools that have been so successful in churning out Olympians. Here’s an extract:
The team behind the excellent Wild East Football blog on Chinese soccer do such a comprehensive job that, Beckham aside, I don’t often get around to focusing on what is still China’s most popular sport. But the farce that is China’s national team appears to have hit a new nadir. You might assume at this point that the only way is up, but with 114 teams currently ranked below China, there’s still plenty of room to underperform their own abysmal standards. Here is today’s Sports Talk column:
They say it’s always darkest before the dawn, but Chinese soccer appears to be in a permanent blackout. Lurching out of the shadows of match-fixing and corruption, the national team stumbles from one defeat to the next.