A thigh injury will sideline Chinese defender Sun Xiang during his team’s Asian Cup qualifier against Syria, state media reported yesterday.
The announcement is the latest setback for China’s beleaguered national side.
The Austria Vienna fullback, 26, first injured himself in September. Sun said he was upset he would not recover before China plays Syria on Jan. 14, Xinhua news agency reported.
“What a disappointment. I had expected I would be fit enough for the Asian Cup qualifier, but as a soccer player you never know what injury is waiting for you,” he was quoted as saying.
Sun’s absence will further weaken a defense that conceded five goals during the last three warm-up games, Xinhua said. The team is training in Shanghai before the Syria match-up.
“Sun is an excellent player and we need his services as our defense is far from solid, but he did not recover from the nagging injury, so we have to rest him,” coach Yin Tiesheng said.
Yin is hoping to rebuild a national side that has already crashed out of the early qualifying rounds of World Cup 2010 and also includes players from a Beijing Olympic squad that failed to win a single match before their home crowd.
Former national team player Mao Jianqing was booted out of the squad for allegedly assaulting a man in a Shanghai restaurant earlier this month.