Hot Trend:coronavirusFIFA World Cup

More superstars, less wonderkids: The conundrum running through Chinese football

More superstars, less wonderkids: The conundrum running through Chinese football

As the teams in the Chinese Super League keep on pouring money to recruit high profile players from Europe, the chances to shine for the young domestic players are very rare.

The phenomenon has been going on for years, and the news is bombarded with headlines involving big names like Oscar, Fellaini or Hulk, all joined a Chinese side with a huge pay cut. The purpose at first was to create a reputation of the league, as well as set an example, a role model for the domestic players to learn from.

More superstars, less wonderkids: The conundrum running through Chinese football

But as a matter of fact, clubs keep taking advantage of the situation, ignoring the rules and paying less attention to the Chinese players, let alone the young ones. With minimum playing time at the club, the young players gain very little outfield experience, leading to drastic results at the national level. The Federation even tried to recruit some legendary managers like Guus Hiddink or Marcelo Lippi, but that certainly didn’t help.

More superstars, less wonderkids: The conundrum running through Chinese football

The Chinese Super League rules stated that at least one domestic player who is under the age of 23 (born on or after 1 January 1996) must be in the Starting XI. But under previous regulations aimed at giving more pitch time to young players, clubs often brought on U23 players in the dying minutes of a game to avoid punishment from the China Football Association (CFA).

Starting next season, the CFA has put a wage cap for the foreign players, at only £49,000-per-week. This may put the Chinese Super League experiment over for good. Young players will have more opportunities to play, as the country of a billion people starts to revive the whole system.

At the AFC U23 Championship China 2018, as the host nation, China brought utter embarrassment to their fans, as they failed to qualify for the knock-out stage. They had a thumping victory against Oman at the opening match but lost to Qatar and the champion Uzbekistan at the remaining matches.

More superstars, less wonderkids: The conundrum running through Chinese football

4 years later, they open their campaign at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 against the favorited contender for the cup - South Korea U23. China put on a valiant effort against a much more quality side, but fell short in the 93rd minute, leaving them to suffer their first defeat at the competition. Fu Bo and his players will now have to achieve miracle results against Iran and the reigning champion Uzbekistan in order to stay positive about the advancing chances at the competition.