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Guangzhou sets up clash with European champions, can Shenzhen ever catch up?

Posted: 12/16/2013 10:00 am

Guangzhou Evergrande will face European champions Bayern Munich tomorrow in the World Club Cup semi-final after overcoming Egyptian side Al Ahly at the weekend, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Brazilian midfielder Elkeson and Argentina’s Dario Conca grabbed second half goals in the 2-0 victory on Saturday to set up the clash in Morocco’s Adrar stadium.

Zhang Linpeng of Guangzhou Evergrande jumps over Ahmed Kenawi of Al Ahly, image courtesy of Reuters

Guangzhou is a rank outsider at 18/1 to win the match. But they have done their nation proud just by being there.

Shenzhen Ruby FC can ony watch as their neighbours continue to rewrite the record books.

Can Shenzhen ever produce a comparable team?

Zhang Lu, an ex-goalkeeper and one of China’s leading football pundits, gave a speech at the weekend claiming that Shenzhen had lots of potential in football but had to first lay some foundations. The speech was given at an event organised by Daily Sunshine.

Zhang Lu, 52, said that Shenzhen’s strengths included the fact that it was a big city, had strong economic foundations, and was inclusive. Therefore, players and coaches that came from other parts of the country and the world wouldn’t feel alienated here.

He later explained that Shenzhen’s biggest problems as a footballing power lay in a lack of grassroots activity: “Firstly, it needs to foster local talent. Secondly, it needs to develop a football culture,” said Zhang.

What Shenzhen’s football culture needs is leaders, according to Zhang.

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