Young footballers strive to make the knockout stage

时间:2011-08-15 09:44   来源:China Daily

Players of the Chinese men's Universiade football team practice during a training session in Longgang district, in Shenzhen, Aug 13, 2011. [Photo by Wang Qingyun/]

It's "very hard to say" if China's men's football team can make it to the knockout stage at this Universiade, said Jin Zhiyang, head coach of this young squad based on the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT)'s football team, the only Chinese college football club played in China's second-tier league.

Jin answered questions from media at a training session two days after his team's first Universiade show, when China tied with Namibia 1-1 last Thursday.

China is in the same group with Namibia, Colombia and South Korea at group stage. Currently scoring one point and sharing the second place now with Namibia, the host team will play Colombia at 7:30 pm on Sunday, and will play South Korea on Aug 16.

Also on Aug 11, South Korea beat the jet-lagged Colombia after the latter was more than 5 hours late for the game that was supposed to take place at 4:30 pm because of a delayed flight.

Jin said before the games that he hadn't had a specific objective for his team to reach at this Universiade, but hope the young players will strive to advance from their group, though with archrival South Korea.

"We will try our best to get into the knockout stages. Even if we fail, we will try our best to show the morale and spirit of Chinese university students. … We should ensure our qualification for the next Unviersiade in Moscow by getting a place in top 13 teams." Jin reiterated when China Daily website asked him whether the team will realize his expectation.

Jin seemed satisfied by his players' performance during the tied-match, stressing that it was the first time the 11 people played an official game, though he said they may need to better preserve their energy. "They (the players) told me they have 'so much passion but lack of careful thinking'. They exerted too much strength at the first half," said Jin.

Jin Zhiyang, head coach of the Chinese men's Universiade football team, poses for a picture during a training session in Longgang district, in Shenzhen, Aug 13, 2011. [Photo by Wang Qingyun/]

The Chinese men's football team lost a goal to Namibia at the 5th minute of the first half, but Fan Zhiqiang scored an equalizer at the 19th minute with teammate Yang Yang's free-kick assist.

Captain Lu Bin hit a header at the 12th minute, but the shot flew outside the far post. "I got quite a few chances of scoring with a header, but I was a bit nervous and lost them," Lu said, "That wouldn't have happened if I were playing in the China's league.

"We were so eager to show ourselves on the first half, and lost stamina." said the defender captain.

But according to Lu, the upcoming group-stage clash with Colombia has left the budding players no time to feel nervous, "Tomorrow's game is very important (for us to make the knockout stage)."

Yang Yang, China's first professional soccer player who is a PH.D. candidate in management, agreed with Lu Bin, "The players were excited but nervous for their first game, and they seemed a little overcautious. We should get better at taking chances the next time."

The BIT football club is a "half-professional team" currently playing the China League One, the second-tier professional league for Chinese football clubs. They began to play professional game since 2007 when they won the champion of China's third-tier professional league.

What makes the team special is their players. All of them, including few foreign students, are full-time students from the School of Management and Economics of the college, and spend only two hours every day on football training. The team ranks at the bottom on the China League One scoreboard, and is on the verge of relegation.