Chinese officials are aiming to improve the country’s footballing prowess to ensure that the national team makes it into the top 16 at the World Cup finals within the next 10 to 20 years.
“The long term objective for the Chinese men’s team is to reach the top 16 at the World Cup,” Cai Zhenhua, president of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), said at a meeting which took place on Friday.
“We will strive to build our national team into a strong and competitive team on the world stage and get ready a bid for the World Cup. It will take us 10 to 20 years or even longer time to achieve,” he added.
The Chinese men, who in 2002 lost all three group matches without scoring a goal in their only appearance at the World Cup finals, are on the verge of elimination in the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
“The Chinese team need to work really hard to become regular participants in the World Cup,” said Cai.
Earlier in 2015, the Chinese government unveiled a master plan which promised to address the country’s somewhat dismal performance at the sport of football. It promised sweeping reform which aimed to shake up teaching practices and increase funding.
This year also saw China publish a series of football textbooks which seek to accommodate the various “cognitive” and “physical” abilities of Chinese students. In reality, however, the need for the textbooks is driven more by the lack of teachers who are qualified to teach the sport.
[Image via Xinhua]