Monday, February 8, 2010

Meanwhile, in China ...

One of the biggest underachievers in world soccer has a new man in charge.

Which is good news for China, because things could hardly get worse.

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world's most populous country, but China is ranked No. 97 in the world and is sitting out the World Cup. As per usual.

So, after owning up to a rotten situation ... China has a new guy running its federation, Wei Di. And he's not even from soccer, which probably is good, too. Wouldn't want anyone who has been tainted by the stink of failure/cheating that has surrounded the sport there.

China has been laughably inept. Playing in the world's weakest region, it couldn't even get into the final 10 of Asian qualifying last year.

It gets worse. The professional league there is massively corrupt. The last head of the football association is being held after investigations of bribery and match-fixing. Yes. It's that bad.

How China, so disciplined and straight-laced in so many endeavors of the sports type, can allow their football federation to decay into incompetence and vice ... is almost inexplicable.

The new guy, whose background is in water sports, is approaching this in the right way. He said China's first goal is to become a "strong team in Asia." Which right now, would be a big step forward for a nation of 1.3 billion soccer fans.

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