ZHENGZHOU, China, (Xinhua) --
As football fans from around the globe are
gearing up for the FIFA World Cup final, a group of Chinese
middle school students and their Romanian coach are gathering
for training on campus in central China’s Henan province.
Cristian Parvu is currently in his third stint in Henan,
coaching football to children from Zhengzhou No.9 Middle School,
with not even Henan’s heavy summer rains dampening the students’
“As long as the
weather permits, we will have training. The children should
learn to adapt to various conditions,” Parvu said.
professional footballer, in 1997 Parvu made his first visit to
China to sign for second division side Henan Jianye, along with
two other Romanian players.
After two years’
service in Jianye, he returned to play in Romania, twice
representing his country’s national team in 2001.
In 2004, Parvu
rejoined Henan Jianye and stayed for half a year.
After hanging up his
boots in 2011, the Romanian sought to become a coach, and
obtained the relevant coaching qualifications from European
football governing body UEFA. Five years later, he began
coaching at Zhengzhou No.9 Middle School, after having been
recommended the position by a friend in China.
tutelage, the team has made considerable progress over the past
In the latest 2018
national high school football competition, the team finished
runner-up, following a second place in the national middle
school football tournament in 2017, and third place in the 2016
national high school football competition.
“Many of my students
are very good at football, and they are not in the least bit
inferior to their European peers in terms of physical quality
and speed,” Parvu said, adding that what these students lack is
a footballing mentality.
on-field success have resulted in an increasing number of
aspiring footballers to apply for entry to the school, with the
opportunity to work with Parvu proving a big draw.
“Parvu is very
strict in training, and he offers a training plan for each
class. He instructs us in every aspect of football, including
skills, tactics and shooting practise,” said goalkeeper Xue
With China having
stated its intention to win the FIFA World Cup by 2050, Parvu is
adamant the country is on the right track.
“China is now
investing a lot of money in campus football, high schools and
primary schools, in order to attract more and more students to
play football. That’s good for the foundations of the sport.
It’s difficult to say what has blocked the development of
football in China, but I know that China is doing the right
“I expect that China
will become a football power in the near future.” he added.
Parvu has often
taken part in public activities, such as coaching football to
students from rural areas of China. This plan was initiated by
68-year-old Wang Suisheng, who used to coach at Henan Jianye.
“Wang is a good
coach and his project is good for the rural students,” Parvu
Having first come
here over 20 years ago, the Romanian has adapted well to China’s
climate and food. He has a particular fondness for dumplings and
noodles, and he always watches Henan Jianye’s home games.
“I don’t know how
long I will live here, but China is my second home. I will never
forget the days I spent here.”