China’s national women’s football team has named a 23-player squad ahead of next week’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup opener against Taiwan. The new-look squad, a mix of experienced and fresh talent, follows a month-long training camp in Shanghai, where 34 of the country’s top female footballers were vying for a place in the team. Newly appointed head coach Shui Qingxia has seemingly stuck to her guns in reshaping the squad, with several key members of the Tokyo Olympics team omitted from December’s training camp. Among those named for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup team are Li Ying, China’s first openly gay athlete, who has appeared more than 100 times for her country, but not played since the Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Australia last February. Wang Shuang, an integral member of the Tokyo Olympics squad and arguably the biggest name in Chinese women’s football, will form the core part of the midfield, alongside Yao Wei of Wuhan Jiangda FC and Shanghai Shengli’s Yang Lina and Zhang Xin. But perhaps the biggest move from coach Shui is the inclusion of Tottenham Hotspur forward Tang Jiali, another to return to the fold having been omitted from last summer’s tournament in Japan. Top-ranked goalkeeper Zhao Lina also returns, with Wuhan Jianghan University FC’s Zhu Yu and Jiangsu FC’s Xu Huan also handed goalkeeping duties. Zhao’s return coincides with the omission of Peng Shimeng, who played all three games in Tokyo, but was not among the goalkeepers listed for the training camp. 🌟 Presenting the #WAC2022 🇮🇳 India, Draw Results 🌟 1️⃣2️⃣ teams are set to battle it out for continental glory! Predict your finalists ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/JJyWNtlgSJ — #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) October 28, 2021 Some of China’s hottest young talent has also been named for India, with former Fifa under-20 Women’s World Cup star Zhang Linyan a welcome addition to the team. She joins fellow midfielders Lou Jiahui and Xiao Yuyi. With a new-look team now in place, the Steel Roses are expected to arrive in India this Saturday ahead of their opening Group A match against Taiwan on January 20. China will then face Iran on January 23 at the Mumbai Football Arena, one of three stadiums to be used throughout the AFC Women’s Cup campaign. Currently ranked 17th in the world, the Steel Roses remain the most successful team in AFC Women’s Asian Cup history, lifting the trophy a record eight times, including seven title wins in a row from 1986 to 1999. The team last won the title in 2006 and finished third at the 2018 edition in Jordan. Meanwhile, hosts India will meet Iran in the second of the Group A games, with Japan to face Myanmar in the opening match of Group C on Friday. With less than 10 days until kick-off, All India Football Federation president Praful Patel said facilities were ready. “Special care has been taken to make sure the best women footballers in Asia are provided with world class infrastructure across the three venues and also the training sites.” Asia’s leading 12 teams will battle for the top honours in the showpiece with the top five finishers joining 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia at the global finals.