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Former Syria team coach: 'China became weaker after using naturalised players'

Former Syria team coach: 'China became weaker after using naturalised players'

Speaking about the current situation of the China national football team, coach Ayman Hakeem said that Chinese officials were wrong when they allowed naturalized players to play.

2019 is a year to forget with Chinese football. At the international level, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup by Iran. After that, in March, they had back-to-back defeats against Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Because of that, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) decided to allow the head coach Marcello Lippi to call up naturalized players. One of them was Elkeson, a Brazilian-born footballer.

Elkeson, who was called Ai Kesen in Chinese, played very well in the first two matches. He scored three goals into Maldives and Guam's net in the World Cup qualification round.

However, things became worse in the third game against the Philippines, when Elkeson and other Chinese players could not find any possible way to score a goal.

After that goalless draw, China lost Syria in the next fixture, which made Lippi decide to resign the managerial role. In the 2019 EAFF E-1 Football Championship, they continued losing two consecutive games against Japan and South Korea.

Speaking about the China national football team's performance, Ayman Hakeem, the former manager of the Syria team said that China would have played better if they had used only Chinese-born players.

Instead of that, they overused naturalized footballers as Elkeson. Lippi could think it was a good way to make a stronger team, but it was not true.

Unlike other teammates, Elkeson could not listen or speak Chinese well, so he was not able to exchange his ideas with them on the pitch. Moreover, the China team's squad had too many players aged more than 30, so they could not play stably in the match.