I am not an avid fan of the English Premier League but there was certainly a piece of pleasing news as arrogant Chelsea was brought down to earth when the team lost to lower-league Burnley 5-4 on penalty kicks after the score is tied at 1-1 even after extra time.
What has this sports news got to do with China? Well, if we could recall not too long ago when Chelsea went on a tour of Asia to promote its “brand” and to reward its so-called legion of crazy supporters across Asia, the Executive Chairman said that Asian players (including Chinese players) do not have the caliber, competence level and the required skill set to make it big in the most competitive soccer league in the world. That was his basis when he was asked why there is not even a single Asian player on the team (including players in the reserves and the junior ranks).
I am impressed by his frankness but to me, it is just plain humiliating because I do sincerely believed that there are certainly a few good Asian players around and also, there must be a few junior openings at the club’s academy for Asian players.
I feel very sad to notice so many of our youths saluting and worshiping the so-called “stars’ of these teams who are not even from Asia. If Chelsea wins, what did you get in return? Probably just a heart warming psychological satisfaction that “YOUR” team had won and, that is about all you will get with no real monetary rewards or no presence of patriotic feeling or nationalistic pride.
To me, Chelsea and the many European clubs are only interested in signing lucrative advertisement contracts and making business deals to enhance its coffers so that they could buy more foreign players but not Asian players. With an impressive economic growth and the flow of funds in the Asia-Pacific region, it is not surprising that the European clubs are aiming for the riches of the region rather than genuinely contributing to the development of soccer in Asia. The many youth programs and joint soccer academies set up 10 years ago across Asia have yet produced any noteworthy talents.
It is a good time for the Asia Football Confederation to reflect upon the many unproductive tours made by these European clubs to Asia and ponders over an integrated self-development plan to raise the soccer standard in this part of the world.
We have to be extra firm and united, to tell these European Clubs to stay at home or go somewhere else when their season ends.
As for arrogant Chelsea, even with the best from Europe, Latin America and Africa, your management stinks and it is very unlikely that you will reach your target in 2008/2009.