Coach concerns for fewer women footballers

Updated: 2012-09-29 10:22


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BAKU - To Chinese U17 women soccer head coach Zhang Chonglai, the most headache issue is that fewer girls want to play football in China.

"It's so hard to have only around 300 players in China for me to choose my players list for FIFA U-17 Women's Football World Cup finals," said Zhang, who's leading his first women's team yet facing an obstacle that he can barely overcome.

Chinese women's football is consisted of U-14 summer camp, U-16 league, U-18 league and national league for women. Each league has around 16 teams.

Zhang was a coach in Chinese Super League for men before accepting the post while China finished third in the AFC U-16 Women's Championship 2011, enough to secure a historic debut in the finals of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Azerbaijan 2012.

"It's a great challenge for me, because I need to spare more energy to something rather basic, not just tell them how to work out my strategy," said Zhang. Most of Chinese girls in the team start playing football after 10.

"I could have brought 35 girls here in Azerbaijan, but now I had only 21 girls available - to be honest, some of them are not that competitive. It would be more helpful and realistic, if we have more clubs and more girl footballers around China."

China leveled Germany at 4 points yet topped Group D by goal difference, with Ghana trailing with 3 points. China is about to play against Ghana on Sunday, September 30, in Baku 8KM Stadium.