John Yan: An insult to the public mood 中国足球,侮辱公众情绪

Away to Indonesia on October 15, the away round of qualification group matches of the Asian Cup, Team China earned an embarrasing draw, 1:1. Indonesia’s FIFA ranking before the match was 170th.

Funny thing happened again. A week before the match, the President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, was visiting Indonesia, and made some comments about his beloved game of football: “I hope one day that China and Indonesia could meet in the finals of World Cup,” he said. A week later, China and Indonesia could barely meet in the finals of the Asian cup.

The Asian Football Confederation started this qualification stage for all AFC listed teams to participate 6 years ago. The purpose was for teams like Indonesia or India to have more opportunities to meet the traditionally stronger teams, and therefore, enhance the publicity of the Asian Cup. Nobody from Japan, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia or even China would take these qualifications matches for any importance. Now it turns out to be very important for Team China.

China is allocated in the group with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Indonesia. The top two qualify automatically, and the best third-placed team of all groups also qualifies. In their first three group matches, China lost to Saudi Arabia, got a last minute home win against Iraq and then this draw against Indonesia. To qualify as one of the top two in the group, China has to win the remaining three matches, which would be quite a big ask.

The draw is being widely treated like a bad loss, even the Party’s mouthpiece, Xin Hua News Agency, claims that Team China was an insult to public mood, as if the public has better things to do.

Maybe the President’s wishes played another complicated role in the outcome again. 4 months again, when he was visiting Mexico, he made the famous comments that “China football has always been trying very hard, and I hope that one day China could win the World Cup…” A week later, on his birthday, Team China lost to Thailand U21 at home, 1:5.

The CFA is under greater pressure again this time. Before the match, some CFA leaders, including VP, Mr. Yu Hongchen, made his public appearance after a long period of silence. He, with a delegation of CFA officials, came to the national team’s training base in Guangdong, and acted like a campaign director. It is so obvious why he should be acting like that.

But the match turned out to be another disaster, just as the VP said before embarking on the flight to Jakarta: ‘a draw is a defeat.’ Team China dominated the first half, scored before half time, but the second half the players were basically tired and got no legs to run the extra meter. The home team nicked a goal back with the help of a sloppy defensive performance by Team China, and kept the pressure till the last second. If the goalkeeper, Zen Chen, who plays for Guangzhou Evergrande, had not made two outstanding saves, China would have lost this match.

After the match, the interim coach of Team China, Fu Bo, who faced the CCTV interviewer with a deeply dejected face, said: “I am just an interim. Anyone can replace me.”

For an interim coach, he did not do too badly in reorganizing the national team after the disgrace of losing to Thailand U21 at home, however, in Indonesia, the team was really playing like a bunch of tired amateurs who have no trust in this interim.

Marcelo Lippi made his visit to the national team before they went to Indonesia, and everyone has been crying for Lippi as the messiah for Team China. However, the challenge with Team China lies deeply with the overall structure of football governance. The CFA is incapable of managing the professional league, and neither can they provide a healthy working environment for the national team. If Lippi really accepts this job, he would find out how frustrating the internal negotiation will be very soon.

John Yan is Deputy Editor of Netease.com. Contact him at moc.l1635409391iamg@16354093918002g1635409391naiqn1635409391ay1635409391, or on weibo at: http://weibo.com/1646270104/profile?topnav=1&wvr=5

中国足球,侮辱公众情绪

看到中国足协的领导又一次出现在国家队训练基地,进行”督战”时,一种似曾相识的滑稽感袭扰着我:如果没有政治压力,同时又具备政治利益,领导们不会愿意将自己暴露在公众和媒体枪火前。

压力肯定有的,国家领导人刚刚访问印尼,关于两国足球讲话被央视报道过后一周,中国足球队的官微才有了一条向领导保证”我们会努力”的微博。没有深思熟虑和反复推敲,足协不可能让这样的官微说话。

同一时间,广州恒大在亚冠联赛里气吞万里如虎,剑锋直指冠军,在国内联赛更是兵不血刃提前卫冕。

种种迹象叠加起来,如果中国国家队出师印尼,不强求大胜,只要是一场顺理成章的胜利,中国足球的局面都会实现一点额外的小小转变。不能说形势大好,但似乎多少有了点积极的迹象。

就在这样的节骨眼上,中国足球毫不犹豫地回到了自己固定的轨迹上——每当你觉得探底探到最底了,那根中国足球的底线还会下探。这一次是在客场和印尼打平,场面更输给比分,因为最后10分钟险象环生的球门,不是印尼那边,而是中国队这边。

顺带而来的结果,就是中国队有可能在亚洲杯预选赛的小组赛中被淘汰,未来面对印尼沙特和伊拉克的比赛,场场都需要争胜。小组第三也还有一线机会,不过考虑到这只是亚洲杯的预选赛,都能让中国队如此艰难,中国足球的亚洲二流地位,看来也难以稳固。

这样的折堕,并不是一项社会事务在向前发展过程中,必然经历的起伏,而更是系统整体混乱失调之后,对公众情绪以及足球这项运动的一再侮辱。没有人还会幻想中国足球在竞技层面上出现奇迹,但面对印尼这样的对手,在有着重大政治压力所以不存在假球和消极比赛可能背景下,还能将比赛踢得如此难看,实在是人为地为公众增加负面情绪。

这只是一场中国足球在扭曲中继续正常表现的比赛,只是自谢南杨入狱之后的足坛反腐整风,或许净化了足球政治环境,却根本没能为中国社会创造一个更适合足球运动发展的环境。政府主管部门内进行了反腐,可这并不是为了促进中国足球进步的反腐,整体上足球运动的生态环境、管理水平和机构建设,没有半点进步。

所以那种似曾相识的滑稽感,会一直陪伴着我们:国家队是重中之重,资金资源投向国际洋帅;洋帅水土不服,尤其和”督战”的足协领导无法配合,竞技成绩不达标失败;土帅临时过渡,稳定住成绩,足协领导”督战”得力;土帅到了节骨眼上继续失败,领导”总结总结再总结”,一切从头再来。

乱砍滥伐的周期性循环进行,是整体生态的崩溃。这样一片荒瘠土壤,已经不是中国足协能够培育和看护,以获取新生机会的。更糟糕的是,出于运动天性热爱足球的社会人群,情绪上要被中国足球的低劣愚蠢周而复始的侮辱。解放中国足球,要从解放中国足球的管理体系做起。