China could soon be able to field a national team made up almost entirely of players born elsewhere after authorities said nine foreign footballers were switching allegiance.
On Wednesday Brazil-born striker Elkeson became the first player without Chinese heritage to be named in the national squad, as China attempts to reach the World Cup for a second time.The 30-year-old is poised to make his debut next month in a 2022 World Cup qualifier in the Maldives, where London-born Nico Yennaris — who is half-Chinese — will likely win a third cap.
“We want to go to Qatar (2022 World Cup),” Chen Xuyuan, new president of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), was quoted as saying by state media.
“Naturalised players can be helpful in order to achieve the national team’s short-term goals.
“Up to now, clubs have registered nine naturalised players with or without Chinese heritage at the CFA in total, some of them are still going through the naturalisation process.”