China’s Football Association has turned to one of the finest leagues in the world to kick start young Chinese players.
It begins at a training center in Madrid with hopes to create the country’s next football stars.
CGTN’s Filio Kontrafouri reports.
The first brick laid perhaps a foundation for future success. A symbolic move by the heads of the Chinese and Spanish football leagues that will see this center expand with a third training pitch to promote young sports talent from China.
“Spain has a very important history and richness in football, that’s why we chose Spain for our permanent training base but also as a strategic partner for China’s football development. We can benefit from the great coaches they have here in order to help improve Chinese players in a technical and tactical level,” said Du Zhaocai the President of the China football association.
The training center will host selected youth teams from China’s Football Association. The first group will be the ‘Under 15’s’, who will complete a 10-month training program. It’s a commitment that Spanish Professional League President Javier Tebas doesn’t take lightly.
“They’re young so that’s a great responsibility. There’s also the responsibility we have in them achieving their sporting goals in any competition. We know they will be patient, but we have to try to make them comfortable and provide them with excellent training,” said Javier Tebas the President of Spanish professional football league.
China’s involvement in Spanish football is growing. Superstar Wu Lei signed for Chinese-owned Espanyol and provides inspiration for future talent. La Liga’s Ambassador Fernando Sanz sees Spain as the obvious choice for China’s new center because of Spain’s football league, La Liga.
“‘The international statistic federation said it’s the best competition in the world so that training through the standard of La Liga, through the coaches of La Liga, is big huge benefit for the federation,” said Fernando Sanz the ambassador of La Liga.
It’s a first step in what China’s Football Association hopes will ultimately translate into success with the national teams.
The expertise of top European football heavyweights and the growth of the domestic league in China could help produce a steady flow of talent in both men’s and women’s teams. And for China a chance to shine on the world football stage.
Mark Dreyer on China’s fast-growing sports industry
China’s Football Association has turned to one of the finest leagues in the world to kick start young Chinese players. Mark Dreyer is the founder of the website China Sports Insider. It features sports news and analysis about China’s fast-growing sports industry. He spoke with CGTN’s Mike Walter about the future of football in China.