Sports / China

Timo Boll's advice for Chinese football

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-14 13:36

Xinhua: Do you expect China to become one of the world's top football nations?

Boll: "China will manage to get nearer to the world's best. Of that I am sure about. But of course it will take a while. It's not possible to copy the so successful table tennis system one to one that quickly. But China has a long breath when they start on the road to something they really want."

Xinhua: What will be the most important points if football is to be developed successfully?

Boll: "When playing for Shandong Luneng in the Chinese Super League, I saw a big football training center next to our one for table tennis. I expect many more to be built all over the country soon. I have actually talked to football experts in Germany about China's new plans for the game. All of them said that China should not do the same mistakes as the USA in the 70s when trying to push football by bringing in aging football stars from all over the world. If you sign big name players then pick just a few very good ones but the main thing is to concentrate on developing your own talents."

Xinhua: You live and have lived in both China and Germany. Germany is an established football country and football is the No.1 sport. Nevertheless there has been an upsurge since 2005, especially since the 2006 World Cup.

Boll: "It was like an explosion. Whenever the World Cup is taking place or the national team is playing almost the entire nation is glued to the big and small screens. Everybody is experiencing the feel good factor. One of the main reasons for the new success which culminated in winning the 2014 World Cup was the academy system every professional club had to set up. And they had to be of a high standard. They are a good role model for China too. As I have heard, football is starting to be taught in Chinas schools. It's the first step to develop the game properly."

Xinhua: What else?

Boll: "A good national team is one thing, but next to it a nationwide academy and league system is vital as are hot-spots in every region where you coach the talented youngsters. If it is true what I've heard, the Chinese football association has convinced some of the leading table tennis figures to help put an effective system in place for football."

Xinhua: By the way, do you have any kind of connection to football in general?

Boll: "When I was a kid I just to play a bit but at some stage you have to make a decision (laughing) - like you said, small ball or big ball. Whenever I can, I follow the games but unfortunately most of the time I'm training or playing matches."

Xinhua: You're a football fan?

Boll: "Oh yes, definitely. I try to see as many games as I can on TV. Nowadays you can watch many games of the big European leagues in China - and the Bundesliga too, which is great. Many Bundesliga games kick off - for instance Saturdays - at around 10 or 11 o`clock in the evening in China and our training or games are over, so we can watch."

Xinhua: Any special club?

Boll: "Believe it or not - I do have a favorite club - despite my admiration for the German national team with whom I once trained with in 2010."

Xinhua: And?

Boll: "Despite being born not far away from Frankfurt - I'm a Borussia Dortmund fan. I once even played table tennis with them."

Most Popular
What's Hot