China nowhere near ready to play in or host Cup

08:15, July 14, 2010      

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Thanks to the oracle, Octopus Paul, the price of the creature at one Beijing seafood market has gone up.

I don't know if it is because the German or Dutch fans have started to consume them in large quantities or the Spanish fans are bringing them home to worship them in their fish tanks.

However, the fact is that Octopus Paul has built fame for the tentacled animal during the World Cup and more people will either eat it or worship it.

Meanwhile, in a recent survey, about 80 percent of the 5,000 Beijing white-collar workers polled said they hoped China would one day host the world's premier sports event. But 45 percent said, considering China's current state in the sport, that it was not capable of hosting World Cup. In the same poll, 30 percent did not support China hosting the event, saying it would be a face-losing exercise.

China's only World Cup qualification was in 2002 when it lost all three group matches, 4-0 to Brazil, 2-0 to Costa Rica and 3-0 to Turkey. Its concession of nine goals was only better than that of Saudi Arabia's 12.

On and off the pitch, Chinese officials and players continue to overestimate themselves in many ways.

That particularly goes for Wei Di, who only took over the helm of Chinese Football Association (CFA), China's governing body of the world's as well as the nation's most-watched sport in January, after former boss Nan Yong was taken away by prosecutors in a corruption sweep.

Reports say Wei, former head of aquatic sports, has set the target of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That's an incredible jump in a span of merely three years!

Another thing you might as well take as a total joke is that the CFA also has the intention of hosting the 2026 World Cup.

China's soccer did rebound in a four-nation tournament in February when it ended a 32-year winless streak against South Korea. However, considering the current state of the sport in China, qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals is, I believe, Mission Impossible. There's no Tom Cruise to bail out Chinese soccer.

The 2002 qualification under Bora Milutinovic remains something seemingly unrepeatable.

The simple fact is that the next host country is not an Asian one.

China was the biggest winner in 2002 when South Korea and Japan were the co-hosts. But for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, neighbors South Korea, Japan and South Korea will all take part as will Australia, west Asian and middle Asian countries and they are all obstacles China will find hard to overcome.

Chinese soccer has been rotten to the core over the past decade and the anti-corruption campaign is just a start to fixing a myriad of problems. To restore the vitality of the game here will take a lot longer than most people expect. A rebirth of Chinese soccer over the next three years and qualification for the 2014 World Cup is idiotic nonsense.

Without World Cup qualification you don't have the face and ability to bid for the Cup.

I remember an article that said maybe we should not set the target of qualifying for the World Cup at all because when we set targets we customarily deviate from the course.

Just forget such lofty ideals. Maybe then, China's soccer might discover a sense of shame and desire for repentance. It might then give us a chance.

Source: China Daily


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