Chinese Super League (CSL) champion club Shanghai Port was crowned a day earlier. Veteran Shanghai soccer coach Xu Genbao on Monday urged his former students to concentrate on taking Chinese soccer to a global level. The seasoned quintet honored the renowned coach as well.
Leading by forward Wu Lei, the renowned “East Asia Six Tigers” (Wu, Yan Junling, Zhang Linpeng, Wang Shenchao, Cai Huikang, and Lü Wenjun) paid a special visit to Shanghai East Asia FC coach Xu to honor him. Coach Xu was a major influence in the players’ careers during their time at his Chongming Island academy.
Together, we realized the dream we had always wanted as teenagers! Wu, along with his teammates from Shanghai East Asia and coach Xu, celebrated the league victory on social media on Monday. “It feels good to have everyone together,” Wu wrote.
At the start of the 2000s, the soccer training base was established by Xu, a legendary figure in Chinese soccer. Chinese soccer is currently being led by a new generation of gifted players who were raised in this school on Chongming Island and are now making waves in the country and abroad.
“The joy of winning the league title is gone as of right now. Xu told his former students, who were now in their 30s, “True happiness is helping Chinese soccer excel in Asia and propelling the team onto the global stage.”
With the exception of Zhang, who played for Guangzhou FC, all of the players who were instrumental in Shanghai Port’s previous league victory in 2018 are now past their prime. Wu and Yan are two years younger than Zhang, Wang, Lü, and Cai, who are now 34 years old.
Zhang moved to Guangzhou primarily because the team was having financial problems and selling talented players is still an efficient way to raise money for club operations. Nevertheless, the quintet has reunited at Port, despite the fact that their ages are taking a toll on their careers.
The players are anticipated to play for China in the forthcoming FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers in November. On November 16th, they will travel to Thailand, and on November 21st, they will host South Korea.
Sports commentator Mao Jiale, based in Chengdu, told the Global Times that “as the players approach the twilight of their careers, adding another CSL title to their list of accomplishments not only further enriches their soccer stories, but also reinforces the idea that long-term youth development pays off.”