China Soccer Naturalizing Talented Foreign Players

Is the soccer fan in you keeping up-to-date with all happenings in the football community? Or is it still in a dormant state, idly playing DominoQQ on the computer? In the meanwhile there have been some really interesting developments in the Chinese soccer team. The Chinese Football Association has now decided to naturalize foreign players in its team. This decision has most probably been taken to save the face of China’s waning grace in the game. But looks like not everyone, even the Chinese citizens, are very happy with the decision.

Some naturalizations of foreign players in the Chinese Soccer Team:

  • Brazilian football player Ricardo Goulart who previously participated in the Chinese Football League, will now be a naturalized citizen of China.
  • Brazilian Elkeson too follows suit.
  • London-born midfielder Nico Yennaris, who also has a Chinese connection from his mother, was the first player to be naturalized. He gave up his British citizenship to play for China. Now he is known as Li Ke.
  • Similar to Yennaris, John Hou Saeter, a Norwegian player, also signed up for Chinese naturalization. Now he goes by the name Hou Yongyong.

How has naturalization helped the Chinese Soccer Team?

Recruiting international talents in its team has definitely bore its benefits to the CFA. For example, Goulart has scored more than 100 goals ever since he became a part of the team in 2015. He helped the team win around 8 trophies as well.

Why is naturalization not a welcome decision by many?

Even though naturalizing foreign talents in its team has helped China up its game on the field, not everyone is happy about it. It is seen as a failure of the nation’s soccer program to nurture its own young talents from a population of 1.3 billion. It is also difficult for the countrymen to accept foreigners playing for their country.


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Dawn Malicdem is a graduate of AB Communication Arts in De La Salle University. She is a media enthusiast, journalist and a photographer. She also plays golf during her free time.