There are a lot of stories surrounding the national team training camp this week ahead of their first two qualifying matches. First up is Singapore tomorrow night (kickoff 8:00 pm, come to our site to join the first ever live blog/chat we’re holding starting at 7:45 pm), so let’s get right to it.
- Rumors are the starting 11 against Singapore will look something like this, surprising for its lack of Yang Hao and Rong Hao, also surprising because it looks to be a major change from the typical lineup under Gao Hongbo. Camacho has heaped praise on Chen Tao, who was all but out of Gao’s national team roster, so it will be interesting to watch how he does.
Goalie: Yang Zhi
Defense: Liu Jianye, Li Weifeng, Du Wei, Sun Xiang
Midfield: Yu Hai, Zheng Zhi, Zhou Xuri, Chen Tao, Qu Bo
Forward: Yang Xu
- Rumor is that there is some tension over who will be the captain. In the camp, Li Weifeng and Du Wei have come forward as team leaders, organizing a variety of tasks for Camacho. The manager wants to give it to Li, as he’s been capped the most, however the CFA seem to be pushing for Du to be captain. The two players say there is no rift between them and the focus is on working together and winning the upcoming matches. However, if true, it’s yet another example of how backward the CFA is.
- Speaking of CFA and backward, in a country of 1.3 billion people they can’t find someone who speaks Spanish and understands football. Word around camp is that there have been a number of small issues involving Camacho’s translator, who is lacking when it comes to football vocabulary.
- More on the backward front, Camacho was impressed with striker Zhang Wenzhao (Changchun Yatai) during camp. Though Zhang isn’t really lighting it up in the league (3 goals so far this year), the coach saw something in him, unfortunately, his passport has expired and so he won’t be part of the team travelling to Jordan next week.
- The “advantage” of Kunming’s altitude affecting the visitors was killed when Singapore headed to Kunming to open their camp last week. Perhaps with this in mind, the CFA has reconsidered hosting their future qualifying matches in the City of Eternal Spring, despite spending RMB2 million (US$313,000) on a new pitch and jumbotron for Tuodong Stadium.
- Stepping into Kunming’s place will be Shenzhen, who just hosted a successful (if you can call it that) Universaide. Originally the competition was between Tianjin, Changsha, and Hefei, with the CFA leaning heavily toward Tianjin, though Shenzhen far outbid the other cities, offering RMB10 million to host the two remaining qualifiers and a friendly against the UAE, once again confirming that when it comes to the CFA, money talks.
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