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China National Team

Lippi experiments with roster for China Cup

The inaugural China Cup kicks off in early January with China being joined by Chile, Iceland, and Croatia for the two match competition. With the other sides all being ranked in the top 25 of the FIFA rankings, it looked like this competition was all about raising China’s ranking from its current, dismal 83, as the other countries wouldn’t be able to bring key players since this isn’t an official, FIFA break.

However, nobody talked to China’s manager Marcello Lippi about this, as the Italian picked a roster with seven U23 players and only nine players who’ve previously been capped (and of those four only have a single cap). The only familiar faces for most will be a trio of Shanghai SIPG players, Wu Lei, Cai Huikang, and Yan Junling.

For the first time in almost 10 years, the national team won’t feature a single player from league champions Guangzhou Evergrande, Lippi also ignored players from runners up Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan. While it makes sense for Lippi to take a shot in the dark and try out a number of new players to see if any might be worthy for more important competitions, this complete overhaul will make it harder for these players to stand out. Further, there were a number of more deserving players who haven’t gotten many chances yet in the national team setup, especially considering the number of older players with zero caps that were chosen over younger options.

Here’s the roster and their number of caps:

Shanghai Shenhua: Bai Jiajun(0), Li Jianbin (0), Cao Yunding (1), Mao Jianqing (9)

Shanghai SIPG: Yan Junling (4), Fu Huan (0), Cai Huikang (18), Wu Lei (40)

Tianjin Teda: Yang Qipeng (0), Bai Yuefeng (0), Hu Rentian (1), Hui Jiakang (1)

Hangzhou Greentown: Zou Dehai (0), Chen Zhongliu (0), Feng Gang (0)

Changcun Yatai: Pei Shuai (0), Fan Xiaodong (0)

Yanbian Fude: Cui Min (0), Chi Zhongguo (0)

Henan Jianye: Yin Hongbo (o)

Hebei China Fortune: Gao Zhunyi (0)

Liaoning FC: Yang Shanping (1)

Dalian Yifang (CL1): Wang Jinxian (0)

WEF is greatly honoured to have aboard B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese bloggersphere. Cheng has been the other lonely soul blogging in English about Chinese football over the last few years. With both Cheng and WEF’s editor linking back and forth to each others’ sites on a regular basis, it was probably inevitable that they would eventually join forces to try to illuminate and decipher the curious world of Chinese football, with their combined musings. Cheng’s credentials are second to none – his blog focuses 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 bloggersphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. Cheng very generously decided to climb aboard and give WEF his views on the issue of the Chinese footballing day.

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