Yi Teng and Wang Chu, do they sound familiar? For those of you that don’t know who they are, they are apprentices plying their trades in France’s Ligue 2 club FC Metz.
You might wonder: why France? Many people have condemned the development of Chinese football, citing it as “disastrous, corrupted, and will obliterate youth’s potential for monetary gains”. To solve this problem, Chinese Football Association and FC Metz have signed an agreement where China will send youngsters to France to benefit from the European youth football training.
Some of the earliest apprentices were Yi Teng and Wang Chu. The policy of Ligue 2 is to allow only two non-EU spots for each team to use. The pair worked hard to break into the first time and they faced formidable competition. To get more playing time, both players were relegated to FC Metz II, the reserve team of FC Metz that competes in the Championnat de France amateur (CFA), a fourth tier league.
During the 2010-2011 season, both Yi and Wang played extensively in the CFA league. Wang played 14 games and scored one goal, and Yi played 23 games with no goal. With a handful of games, when people believed Yi might have a chance to break into the first team, Yi decided not to extend his contract and went back to China to seek for more playing time. The possible reason for his departure is Yi is almost 22 year-old and he wanted more first time experience in a ‘professional league’. Another reason might be he saw Zhang Jiaqi, an apprentice in Le Mans, just got promoted to the first team and realized he must leave France for a league where competition isn’t so fierce.
Now back in China, Yi Teng is linked to Shenzhen Ruby and Chengdu Blades, where both teams need a good defender to boost up their rankings.
So..let me ask you again, Yi Teng and Wang Chu, do they sound familiar?
Now cross out Yi Teng and add Zhang Qi and Huang Wei, the two new kids that were recently sent to FC Metz by the Chinese Football Association . Will Wang Chu and the new kids, Zhang Qi and Huang Wei, face similar destiny as Yi Teng? Will one of them eventually become the second Chinese, after Li Jinyu, to play football in France?
Only time will tell.