Connect with us

China National Team

Cheng: National team’s extra time leads to extra pressure

While almost every league in the world played last weekend, the CFA decided it was best to start the CSL’s international break a week earlier. The end result is that while the team gets more time to practice, the bubble of pressure is built up even more.

This is the first time China has gotten to this stage of qualifying since the 2002 World Cup qualifying process and as long as China is in the top three (of six) they have a shot at making it to Russia (the first two sides go through automatically while third place goes into a playoff). It is also the first time China has backed a domestic manager, Gao Hongbo, to take them to the World Cup since Wu Qisheng’s failed attempt to reach the 1998 World Cup.

The CFA likes to force the CSL to best serve the Chinese national team, but giving them an additional week off is likely to have the opposite effect. China’s opening match is against Korea on September 1st in Seoul, but the K-League still had a full slate of matches over the weekend.

While the additional week in the national team camp gives the players more time to practice together, it also can see a “stir crazy” type atmosphere build in the camp. Also, with the domestic league on break, the media has nothing but the story of the Korea game to focus on, leading to a search for story line and an even greater buildup of pressure.

China was always going to be the underdog in the Korea match and perhaps as such could pull off a bit of a surprise (a draw would be enough to thrill everyone). However, the media and public buildup surrounding the Korea game creates an unhealthy atmosphere where it will be hard for China to meet expectations while also de-emphasizing the more crucial match against Iran in Shenyang a few days later.

From the outside it’s hard to know how much these issues leak into the national team, but its hard to imagine that it doesn’t. While Gao has been able to get China punching above their weight previously, a result in Korea would be his greatest achievement to date.

In the meantime, the CFA should reconsider these additional breaks as they could very easily have the opposite of their intended effect.

 

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.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dylan Shi

    30/08/2016 at 18:18

    Right on. The scheduling in the CSL and the CFA Cup has been a disaster this year and I’m afraid China are still likely to get thumped in Korea.

    • Dylan Shi

      16/09/2016 at 13:17

      …And I made this comment before China unsurprisingly picked up only a single point from their elongated break. And before the CFA moved the last two matches of the season in order to give the national team a fifteen-day break before losing to Qatar and to South Korea again. I had been toying with the idea of going to Changchun on the last day of the season, but that idea’s dead in the water now. It’s very disrespectful to fans. Just as importantly, the final four matches of the season now take place in the span of fifteen days. Watch someone get relegated due in part to the exhaustion of traveling across the country during a two-day break between matches where a five- or six-day break would have seen them stay up. It will be grueling. Oh, and after moving these matches, the CFA then moved the final match again, from the afternoon to the evening. Really a shambles this year. If scheduling is not sorted out in the next few years, it will only continue to be an impediment both to the league and to the national team.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

More in China National Team