31,000 Sina Weibo users and counting have commented on the post by Chen where he wrote directly to the Chinese FA account, translated here:
“Distinguished leaders of the Chinese Football Association, hello, we are Xi'an International University and have a dozen boys in the school that usually play football. Our level is poor so we provide a good warm up opportunity at our stadium; if we draw or lose we are willing to bear all the expenses of the national side. Please reply.”
Chen’s post has created an incredible discussion on ‘China’s Twitter’ regarding the challenge and in a poll, nearly 16,000 have said Xi’an would win while only 600 have disagreed.
Responses to the poll on Sina Weibo include comment from a Guangzhou user simply stating: “I think it’s a Xi'an victory. Ha ha ha,” while another wrote, “A Xi'an victory, heck even the junior high school football team would win.”
Xi'an International University is just 20 years old but has a student population of 36,000 and the actions of its student Chen put China’s plight and more importantly local opinion into perspective.
Three defeats by Uzbekistan, Holland and Thailand have not just provided disappointment for followers of the Chinese national side but seemingly a complete loss of faith in the team itself. While the game against Holland was fairly irrelevant, more was expected against Uzbekistan and outrage followed the 5-1 loss to Thailand.
Polls on whether they deliberately lost the game were made, the Chinese FA demanded that each player explain the loss and the performances of players like Guangzhou Evergrande’s Zhao Peng have been heavily criticised.
Thailand’s 5-1 victory at the Olympic Sports Center in Hefei was made all the worse for China as caretaker manager Kiatisuk Senamuang had selected a squad mostly made up of Under-23 players.
Most importantly, the future of China’s coach José Camacho now hangs in the balance now more than ever with Chinese fans like Chen Ju piling on the pressure.
Beijing-based Peter Davis watched Liaoning Whowin play Chengdu Blades in 2008 and has been hooked on Chinese football ever since. He is a regular contributor to Wild East Football and can be found on Twitter at @peteydavis