Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Expanded World Cup has China daring to dream

11 January 2017, 12:01

Shanghai - China's football chief and state media hailed FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026, saying it could help realise the country's "dream" of returning to the sport's grandest stage.

Chinese Football Association President Cai Zhenhua called the expansion an opportunity for China, who currently languish at 82nd in the world rankings, sandwiched between St Kitts and Nevis (population 60,000) and the Faroe Islands (population 49,000).

"The 2026 World Cup is still far off but you could say that China will have more chances after the World Cup expansion," Cai was quoted as saying by the Beijing Youth Daily.

Cai spoke as Team Dragon went down 2-0 at home to Iceland in the invitational China Cup tournament.

State mouthpiece Xinhua said in a commentary Wednesday that the 48-team World Cup will complement official efforts to improve the standards of football in China.

"Even if the levels of skill and strategy in the Chinese men's football do not grow in leaps and bounds by 2026, the initial objectives of (China's) football reform will have been realised," said the commentary issued late Tuesday.

"By then, with the added bonus of World Cup expansion, it is highly possible that China's return to the World Cup will no longer be just a dream."

FIFA voted on Tuesday to expand the World Cup from 32 teams to 48, with its president Gianni Infantino saying more countries needed a chance to shine in a tournament dominated by Europe and South America, while critics derided the move as driven by profit and politics.

Also read: FIFA approves 48 team World Cup for 2026 - official

The decision is likely to mean Asia doubling their guaranteed World Cup finals allocation from four to eight countries, with the ninth-placed qualifier facing a playoff.

"Many more countries will have the chance to dream," Infantino said.

China has the world's biggest population and a cash-rich domestic league that has in the past month broken the Asian transfer record with Shanghai SIPG paying 60 million euros for Oscar, while making Carlos Tevez reportedly the world's highest-salaried player at Shanghai Shenhua.

But at the national level China punches well below its weight, having qualified only once for the World Cup finals, in 2002, where they failed to win a match or score a goal.

Xinhua said the expansion of the competition "will undoubtedly give it a more global significance," and introduce different playing styles.

Chinese Super League clubs, encouraged by football fan President Xi Jinping's vision of turning China into a one of the game's superpowers, have broken the Asian transfer record five times in less than a year.

Xi has set a target of hosting and winning a World Cup, prompting a flood of money into top-flight teams and heavy investment in grass-roots development.



Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Separating kitchen politics from ...

Like everyone else, I believe that the most popular definition of democracy is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Read more...

Submitted by
Bethel Tanifo
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, ...

Like NDDC Unlike MONDA. This notion is an intuition that does not portend political participation, affiliation, intrusion or aggression but a submission with the intention of completion of the previous administration's noble vision. Read more...

Submitted by
Bethel Tanifo
Nigerian Constitution versus Corr...

The problems of Nigeria is not in its conventional composition, formation, functionality, constitution or treaty, while the solutions are not disintegrations as promulgated by some faiths fanatics and bigotries.  Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Much Ado about Trump’s Presidency

It was unbelievable when the social and mainstream media all over the world began airing the breaking news of Donald Trump’s victory in the most contentious US Presidential elections in recent years. Read more...

Submitted by
Mike Daemon
Nigerian author highlights gay ch...

A new novel by a prolific young Nigerian author features gay characters, which could help increase the visibility of the gay community and possibly lead to greater understanding of LGBT Nigerians. Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Your Excellency, I will call you ...

Your Excellency, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, as a leader that pays attention to details, I understand that the odd title of this piece would definitely arouse your curiosity.  Read more...