China is Importing Footballers For The 2022 World Cup in Qatar

2022 World Cup
                                Photo credit: derrickbrutel on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

When China played in the Qatar World Cup qualifying match in Qatar in September 2022, all eyes were on the two players.

Nico Enares, 26, was born in London, while Alixon, 30, was a Brazilian citizen until a few months ago. The two are part of China's 24-man squad, which won a five-match series against Maldives in September. It was the first time in Chinese history that a foreigner had taken Chinese citizenship and played a match for China against another country. Another London-based player, Enaris, had not had a chance to play in the match.

This is a big step. A country with a population of one billion forty million is ready to add 'foreign' players to its national team to qualify for the World Cup since 2002.
Such an idea has been debated many times but has been implemented in 2019. In addition to the tremendous financial benefits of foreign players, Chinese citizenship was also a prerequisite for Chinese team head coach Marcelo Lippi to build a team. Italy's World Cup-winning legend has stepped down as coach after China's disappointing performance in the Asia Cup. But after 119 days, he returned to the same position again.

Since then, foreign players have been a big topic for Chinese team citizenship.

Although Elixon and Enares are two players who have been inducted into the national team, they are not the only players who have acquired or are taking Chinese citizenship in the past few months.

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