Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup qualifiers
Puerto Rico’s Carlos Monzón reacts after scoring a goal during the first half against Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier in St. Petersburg on June 12, 2018.
Puerto Rico’s Carlos Monzón reacts after scoring a goal during the first half against Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier in St. Petersburg on June 12, 2018. Photo: Steve Cannon Photo: Steve Cannon Photo: Steve Cannon Image 1 of / 3 Caption Close Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup qualifiers 1 / 3 Back to Gallery
The first wave of Chinese sportsmen, including two World Cup players, have arrived in Qatar ahead of the Asian Cup, marking the most significant visit by Chinese visitors to the Gulf nation since Xi Jinping became president.
Qatar is hosting the Asian Games, the 20th Asian Games, in 2022.
China will compete with a squad led by Guangdong-based Guangzhou F.C. player Fu Haifeng, 34, who has played for 10 clubs in South-East Asia, including seven in China. Haifeng signed for Guangzhou in 2010 to play in China’s domestic leagues.
“I am glad to join Qatar’s team because Qatar is a city with a high level of human dignity, high level of sports, and a city with a rich history,” Haifeng told the official Xinhua News Agency.
Qatar’s team is going to take part in the Asian Championship, a tournament with eight teams in Asia, Europe and Oceania, starting Oct. 8 from Doha. It will be held until Oct. 30. It is the most elite of the regional tournaments, the Asian League, which was held in South Africa, and has also been organized in Australia, Australia, Japan, Japan and the Philippines, among others.
The tournament will be played in the same venues used for the Southeast Asian Games.
Haifeng said he wanted to play in Qatar because “it can help Chinese youth to play abroad and it’s a good environment.” He also said the government supports his decision after a phone call.
Haifeng, who scored twice for Guangzhou, said he would like to play in China, but “maybe not in the Asian Games.”