Skipper Li back in the fold

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 October, 2004, 12:00am

China captain Li Weifeng has been brought straight back into the squad for next week's match in Kuwait, despite the fact that he hasn't played a single game since the Asian Cup final.

The Shenzhen Jianlibao defender, who suffered a broken rib during the competition, has been in Belgium having additional treatment on knee and back injuries and hasn't played a match for the league leaders since June.

'I have good information from Belgium,' said Haan. 'He's had good treatment in Antwerp and good training with a third division team, White Star I think. I will see how far he has come.'

Li Weifeng's Asian Cup partner and clubmate Zheng Zhi is suspended after his daft red card against Malaysia last month, while Haan has finally lost patience with Shenzhen's fitful left winger Zheng Bin.

To fill Zheng Zhi's boots Haan has called up Olympic team captain and 2002 World Cup squad member Du Wei for the first time. The Dutchman made a special trip to see the 23-year-old Shanghai Shenhua centre-back play last weekend and is keen to take a closer look. 'I was in Chengdu to see [Shanghai Shenhua] SVA play Sichuan so I could look at him. I'm not sure he's totally fit, but it's the first time he's come to me and I want to see how he is close up, to understand him better.'

Also new to the 26-man group are Liaoning pair Xu Liang and Zhang Yonhai, while foreign legionnaires Shao Jiayi and Sun Jihai have been brought back from Europe, after being spared September's trip to Malaysia.

China squad

Goalkeepers: Li Jian (26, Chongqing Qiche), Liu Yunfei (25, Tianjin TEDA), Sun Shoubo (21, Sichuan Guancheng).

Defenders: Du Wei (23, Shanghai Shenhua), Hao Wei (27, Beijing Hyundai), Ji Mingyi (23, Dalian Shide), Li Ming (31, Dalian Shide), Li Weifeng (Liu Jindong (19, Shandong Luneng), Sun Xiang (22, Shanghai Shenhua), Wei Xin (27, Chongqing Qiche), Xu Yunlong (25, Beijing Hyundai), Zhang Yonhai (25, Liaoning), Zhang Yaokun (23, Dalian Shide), Zhou Ting (25, Qingdao Beilaite).

Midfielders: Li Xiaopeng (27, Shandong Luneng), Sun Jihai ( 27, Manchester City), Xu Liang (23, Liaoning), Yan Song (23, Dalian Shide), Yang Pu (26, Beijing Hyundai), Zhao Junzhe (25, Liaoning).

Forwards: Hao Haidong (34, Dalian Shide), Li Jinyu (26, Shandong Luneng), Li Yi (25, Shenzhen Jianlibao), Shao Jiayi (24, Munich 1860), Zhang Shuo (20, Tianjin TEDA).