By Xinhua writers Huang Yongxian, Luo
Yu and Zhang Yiyi GUIYANG China (Xinhua) --
As the World Cup fever grips fans from all around
the globe, a group of Chinese teenagers and two foreign football
coaches gather for the third time for intensive training in the
mountains of China’s Guizhou Province.
“Run!” “Pass it!”
“Shoot!” “Bravo!” ... As the small soccer players run and play
with joy and dedication, the coaches cheer them on from the
sidelines of the Zhenhua National Middle School football field
in Kaili City of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous
The coaches are Jose
Hernandez Suarez from Spain and his Chilean assistant Mauricio
Javier Martinez Neira.
Hernandez told Xinhua that it was the third time for him and
Martinez to offer free instruction and training for the
teaching programs based on the boys’ ages,” explained Hernandez,
“Our teaching methods were inspired by a system of football
training in Spain, which offers quality and maturity.”
Hernandez, the training includes interesting warm-up games,
reasonable and scientific physical training, basic and practical
skills, flexible and variable techniques and tactics, as well as
matches between different teams.
For Hernandez, there
is no big difference between teenagers in China and those in
Europe. Although the average height of the Chinese students
might be shorter, their passion to learn and strong will to win
are as strong as other players in the world, Hernandez said.
difference is that in China, we have government support for
youth soccer players, which is rarely seen in Europe,” the
veteran coach said.
admitted that “grassroots” football in China still has a lot of
room to develop. According to him, there are local leagues in
many European cities, even among schools, where children can
practice and compete to continually improve.
“Unlike Europe, this
happens only once every two or three months in Kaili,” he said.
The former professional football player later became a football
coach, and has spent over 20 years training children in Spanish
Before coming to
Kaili, Hernandez spent two years as a football coach in Chengdu,
capital of Sichuan Province, but he moved to Kaili because he
was touched by the local football atmosphere. Upon his arrival,
he signed a two-year contract with Guizhou Fengyun, a football
club dedicated to training young talents.
coincides—by focusing more on the training of youths can we win
the future,” he said, addressing the fact that the process might
be long, requiring 10 to 20 years of work.
24-year-old assistant and friend of Hernandez, used to play in
the Chilean Second Division. In 2014, he went to Chengdu to work
as a trainer for a local team. This year, he followed
Hernandez’s advice and returned to China, to help him train the
young talents in Kaili.
The young man
stressed that for him it was “a beautiful opportunity” to be
able to teach everything he knows about football to Chinese
Martinez is excited
to see that children in Kaili have a passion and desire to
compete, “What they need is to persist in working on their
techniques,” he said.
The young man showed
great confidence in the sport in China. “China has great
potential in football, you just have to develop it, and in a few
years the country will be able to become a global football
power,” he said.
However, life in
Kaili is not easy for the teachers. For example, apart from
Martinez and a club translator, Hernandez has no one to talk to
in his native language.
For Martinez, the
Chilean former player, a major problem is that he is not yet
used to spicy food, one of the favorites of local people. In
addition, he misses his two-year-old daughter, who lives in
One shared hope for
the coaches is to bring their families to live with them, and to
witness and participate in the development of the sport in
Their dream is
becoming a reality, as free football training courses are now
offered in many primary and secondary schools in Kaili City,
thanks to Fengyun’s football promotion program in cooperation
with local government.
“We are planning to
bring two more foreign coaches here to expand our coaching team
and offer regular training to more school children,” said Yao
Yu, the club’s executive president.
entrepreneur is confident that if this method of training is
preserved, one day the Chinese team could return to the World
Cup. If this happens, his dream is that there will be players in
the field that Hernandez and Martinez are training today.
New Hebei boss Coleman
“excited” about working in China
By Sportswriter Michael Butterworth
BEIJING China (Xinhua) -- Former Wales
football manager Chris Coleman says he is excited about working
in China, and that the country’s target of winning the FIFA
World Cup by 2050 is achievable.
The Welshman was
appointed manager of Chinese Super League side Hebei China
Fortune last month, and in an exclusive interview with Xinhua,
explained why he had decided to move to China.
generally don’t travel. I don’t know why. I’ve worked in Spain
and Greece, and I really enjoyed my experience of working
abroad. The Chinese Super League is going from strength to
strength, and it’s a much talked about league back home.”
The Swansea native
added, “There was talk of me coming here in 2016, so it’s been
in the background for a few years, and then the opportunity came
and I was very excited and wanted to do it.”
Coleman takes over
from Manuel Pellegrini, under whose stewardship Hebei missed out
on qualification for the Asian Champions League by just two
points in 2017. The former Fulham and Sunderland boss is keen
for his new charges to go one better.
“The first goal is
for us to finish in a Champions League spot. We’re six or seven
points behind at the moment, but that’s not to say we can’t do
it. We’ll try our best to make up the ground now, but within the
next 18 months we have to be looking at the top three. Hebei
have never finished in one of those spots, so that’s got to be
been an international manager, Coleman is taking a keen interest
in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and reserved praise for England
manager Gareth Southgate, whom the Welshman played alongside at
Premier League outfit Crystal Palace in the 1990s.
“Gareth is a very
good manager. He’s been very brave, he’s changed everything.
He’s changed formation and personnel, he’s doing it exactly how
he wants to do it, and you have to give respect to him for doing
that. When we were teammates, Gareth was a deep thinker, very
intelligent, and a fantastic captain. I thought then he would go
on and become a manager.”
The new Hebei boss
also offered his thoughts on the current state of Chinese
football, with the country having stated its aim to qualify for,
host, and win the World Cup by 2050. Drawing on his own
experience as manager of Wales, Coleman was at pains to point
out that anything is possible when a team has a strong sense of
“First, they need to
qualify, and have that taste of success to give them a bit of
confidence and belief that things are possible. When I was
manager of Wales, we failed so many times, but we stuck at it
and then we had great success. Nobody thought Greece could win
the European Championships in 2004, so it can be done.”
The Welshman added
that loftier goals could be achieved with the correct
preparation. “For China to win the World Cup, it’ll be very
difficult, but 2050 is a long way away. That’s a lot of years, a
lot of preparation, and they certainly take their football very
seriously here. I’m quite sure football in China will improve in
the next five to 10 years, so in the next 20 to 30 years, who