Planet Sport. China conquers football

Primary school students doing footbal exercises on November 2, 2016, in Shangrao (China). (VCG / VISUAL CHINA GROUP)

What if by 2050, there was a France-China or Brazil-China World Cup final? What if the future Zinedine Zidane was a Chinese player? In any case, the government of the Middle Empire clearly announced its ambitions four years ago: China wants to become a great football nation.

Emmanuel Lincot, professor of Chinese political and cultural history at the Catholic Institute of Paris, details this new objective. “They have an idea of ​​revenge to take in all areas, he explains. And football in particular is a way of giving new visibility to China and, of course, to what it does. It is also and above all a way of popularizing China and its image. “

A priori, football will participate in a revaluation of China and its image.

Emmanuel Lincot

to News i

Concretely, the country brings in prestigious players and coaches from abroad for its clubs. We see future Chinese coaches being trained in Spain or France and, above all, preparing future national players by creating large-scale academies. It is in this context that Rémi Dupuy, a young Toulousain speaking Chinese and freshly graduated, arrived in the city of Guiyang, in the province of Guizhou. He was in charge of the Academy’s Under-12 team. In the afternoon, he introduced football to children from surrounding schools. “There are some who had never kicked a ball in their life. It’s not at all like in France. We tried to show them the basics: passing, controlling, … through games, especially. “

A positive experience with exceptional working conditions, he notes. But he also sees room for improvement to reach the goal. “Right now, for the kids, it’s a daily practice but no games. And for the adults, there isn’t really an amateur championship run by the Chinese Football Federation. private leagues, there is no real pyramid. “

“At the financial level, there is no problem. Afterwards, it is at the structural level where it develops a little quickly. So there may be things to improve over time”, he concludes. China has so far only participated in one World Cup, in 2002. Currently, it is 76th in the world rankings, and 15th for the women’s team.

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