The Economist takes a try at examining at why China is so terrible at football/soccer. This malaise has gone on for much of the past decade, with things having gone downhill since China’s dismal 2002 World Cup appearance. The reasons are easy to figure out, but in terms of narrowing it down and coming up with a solution, it’s a puzzle. The Economist writer initially says that the core reason is the system is rotten, namely how football is administrated and managed, especially with youth development which is based on training kids in intensive schools from a young age. But not surprisingly, he brings up several more reasons such as matchfixing and a weak domestic league. I am tempted. I agree with all of them. Still, the authorities have taken some action against domestic matchfixing and in hiring a decent Spanish coach, so I am a little more hopeful.
In more optimistic news, French striker Nicolas Anelka joined Shanghai Shenhua on a 2-year contract, making him the biggest name in Chinese soccer since… forever. Though I did find out that Carsten Jancker, a former German national and Bayern Munich striker, also played in China for a short time a few years back.