Wanted: New field and new translator
Updated: 2011-09-04 07:55
By Tang Zhe (China Daily)
Cup qualifier exposes embarrassing problems facing Chinese men's team
KUNMING, Yunnan - Somewhere in China, there is a pitch good enough to hold World Cup qualifiers.
That pitch is not Kunming Tuodong Stadium.
Though the Chinese men's soccer team is unbeaten on that field, it proved troublesome to both teams during a 2-1 victory over Singapore on Friday night, when China won its opener in round-of-20 group play at the 2014 World Cup Asian Zone preliminaries.
The field was full of potholes ten minutes after the game began, forcing players to try to level the turf on their own during the match.
Though Chinese coach Jose Antonio Camacho refused to complain, the public is urging the Chinese Football Association to chose another pitch before the next home match.
"I don't know how to describe the pitch - it's terrible," said Chinese striker Qu Bo, who missed a penalty with China trailing 1-0. "It's hard to show our skills individually, not to mention the team as a whole. It's no accident I lost that penalty. The condition of the pitch really had a big influence on it."
Philippe Troussier, coach of Shenzhen Ruby soccer club, attended the game, and said he was astonished at the pitch's condition.
"Eighty percent of (the game's ugliness) comes from the pitch," the Frenchman said. "When I saw the pitch, I know it would be a tough match.
"I know the ability of each player. I play against them in the league, but I could not recognize them (in the game). I think the pitch was one of the main reasons the players couldn't play, because they only played long balls instead of passes.
"The turf was loose and soft. It led to some mistakes and made the Chinese unable to launch fast attacks. If China wants to win more games at home in the future, it must consider changing the pitch."
Though China has numerous stadiums with world-class facilities and high attendance rates, Tuodong Stadium was preferred by former national team coach Gao Hongbo for its geographic advantage and renowned record.
But the turf conditions and space limitations make it unfit for a domestic league game, much less a World Cup qualifier.
It was reported by Chinese media that South China city Shenzhen will hold China's next two home games, though the report was denied by CFA officials.
The pitch isn't the only problem the CFA was also asked to look for a new translator for the team.
Camacho's translator, Zhou Yi, has been criticized for an inability to pass the coach's ideas to players in pre-match trainings, leaving Chinese striker Yu Dabao, who played in Portugal, to translate for his teammates.
Zhou again became the target of criticism after the match against Singapore, when he sat indifferently as Camacho shouted to players along the pitch in Spanish.
CFA said on its blog that, according to the supervisor of the game, only one person was allowed in the coaching area during the game.
"Translator is very important to a team, because the players only understand the translator," said Philippe, who said he is satisfied with his club's translator. "It's also a problem if the translator uses a different voice than the coach, because they have to express the coach's emotion."
The Chinese arrived in Jordan on Saturday evening, and will play against the west Asian team on Wednesday. China will play its second home game against on Oct 11 against Iraq.
(China Daily 09/04/2011 page7)
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