Gao Hongbo has once again taken on the tall task of righting the Chinese national team after the firing of a “premier” foreign manager. Facing an uphill battle as China needs victories against both the Maldives and far stronger Qatar if they have any hope of advancing to the next round, Gao’s taken things in a very different direction from previous manager Allain Perrin and not included the 35 year old national team captain Zheng Zhi in his squad.
During Gao’s previous tenure, Zheng didn’t play a significant part in his plans and that seems to have carried over this time around. As was the case previously under Gao, he has made some interesting choices, including bringing in Wang Shenchao and Yin Hongbo to the national team for the first time. With Gao always seeking out young players, it was less surprising that he brings back Li Ang and Ding Haifeng into the fold, however a few key youngsters from Shandong were left out this time around. The return of veterans Jiang Ning and Zhao Mingjian, despite having been on the outs for a long time may serve as comfortable options to Gao.
Guangzhou Evergrande: Zeng Cheng, Zhang Linpeng, Li Xuepeng, Feng Xiaoting, Huang Bowen, Gao Lin
Shandong Luneng: Wang Dalei, Zhao Mingjian, Hao Junmin, Yang Xu
Shanghai SIPG: Yan Junling, Wang Shenchao, Wu Lei, Cai Huikang, Yu Hai
Beijing Guoan: Zhang Chengdong, Zhang Xizhe, Yu Dabao
Jiangsu Suning: Ren Hang, Li Ang, Wu Xi
Hebei China Fortune: Ding Haifeng, Jiang Ning
Henan Jianye: Yin Hongbo
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