SHANGHAI, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) — China’s national men’s football team on Wednesday began a training camp in Shanghai’s Century Park ahead of FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Vietnam.
According to new head coach Li Xiaopeng, 26 of the 52 players on the list appeared in the first training lesson. “Two registered members are absent. Jiang Guangtai is in Dubai for a family reunion and Zhu Chenjie is resting at home since his temperature was a bit high when he arrived yesterday,” said Li.
In addition to Li, 15 assistant coaches are included in the group. “These coaches were carefully selected. Some of them are head coaches of their clubs. My personal capability is limited, so they will help our team better perform in the upcoming games,” Li said.
As the new coach, Li admitted that his team is facing great pressure. “But I am not in a hurry to make any change that will lead to any confusion. The key point is to make the team members better recover psychologically,” he said.
Li also revealed that all China’s naturalized players had privately agreed to play for the team. “However, in my opinion, they put more emphasis on written promises, so I am not sure if they will finally join us,” he added.
Li set both short- and long-term goals for his team. “Our current task is to help each player perform well facing Japan and Vietnam,” said Li. “As for the long-term goal, I hope the national team can become among Asia’s first-class teams.”
China will play Japan on January 27 and Vietnam on February 1.
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