Guizhou Renhe attacking midfielder Zvjezdan Misimović says his call up to the provisional Bosnia World Cup Squad shows the increasing strength of the Chinese Super League.
Speaking exclusively to Wild East Football, he said being named by Bosnian head coach Safet Sušic was an endoresement of not only his own quality but that of the CSL.
“‘I was sure about my quality when I moved to China and the national coach still called me up, I played well and everybody was sure that China wasn’t such a bad league,’ Misimović said.
Interestingly, with regard to moving to China and maintaining a place in his national team, Misimović’s fortunes contrast somewhat with his teammate, and countryman, Zlatan Muslimović, a striker with 30 caps and 12 goals for the national team who no longer features for Bosnia.
Misimović however puts this down to the quality of the competition – ‘When Muslimović came here he wasn’t called up anymore but that is because we have Edin Džeko and Vedad Ibišević, two very good strikers and in the end it’s the coaches decision,’ explained the 31 year old attacking midfielder.
Considering the fact Džeko is first choice striker with EPL champions Manchester City, and Ibišević with Bundesliga side Stuttgart, the CSL can perhaps be absolved of blame for Muslimović’s abscence from the national scene.
Departing for his international camp Misimović left Guizhou not quite hitting the form of last season, his club sit 7th on 18 points only 4 points off the coveted Asia Champions League spot.
The 2013 season ended with Guizhou capturing the Chinese FA Cup, besting Guangzhou Evergrande over two legs and 2014 started with a Chinese Super Cup win over the same team but a hectic schedule of ACL and CSL put Guizhou in trouble.
Despite this Misimović is confident that the right results will come in time, ‘The first trophy for our club was the FA Cup and we beat Guangzhou Evergrande who are the best team in Asia, we also qualified for a second year in a row to the Asia Champions League.
‘This year has been very difficult, we have won the Super Cup but this season is very difficult for us so far. We changed the coach and the style of play, we need time but we are playing the right way,’ he said.
Misimović, who has 3 goals in 10 CSL games so far this season, hints that his clubs fortunes may change with the upcoming break for the World Cup and the aim is to improve his clubs fortunes
‘In the beginning it was very hard as I had never lived so long in a hotel but right now I have adapted, everyone at the club is very nice and made it very easy for me’
‘After the World Cup break we can recover and train so you will see a really good Guizhou Renhe from July,’ he said.
Guizhou Renhe face Guangzhou Evergrande away (21 May), Shandong Luneng away (25 May) and Harbin Yiteng at home (20 July) in their next fixtures while Bosnia and Herzegovina face Argentina on 15 June to kick off their World Cup campaign.
Beijing-based Peter Davis has followed Chinese football since 2008 and is a regular contributor to Wild East Football. He can be found on Twitter and Weibo at @peteydavis
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