Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | ePaper
Brazilian Elkeson earns landmark China call-up
China named Elkeson in their squad Wednesday for their opening World Cup qualifier with the Brazilian poised to become the first without Chinese ancestry to play for the country.
The move has divided Chinese football fans and experts, however, as coach Marcello Lippi attempts to guide the nation to only their second World Cup.
Lippi has long complained about a dearth of attacking options and has moved to plug the gap with the 30-year-old striker, who will use the Chinese name Aikesen.
The move to naturalise the Brazilian comes after China similarly gave a passport to London-born midfielder Nico Yennaris.
The Beijing Guoan player has taken the Chinese name Li Ke and made his debut for Lippi's side in June this year.
The former Arsenal man, however, is half-Chinese, whereas Guangzhou Evergrande striker Elkeson qualifies for China having played in the country since 2013.
Elkeson has scored more than 100 goals in about 150 games in the Chinese Super League.