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Zheng Zhi out of national team as Gao puts his stamp on the side

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

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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