BEIJING – Chinese women’s team playmaker Wang Shuang, who has been stranded in Wuhan, is set to rejoin the national team after the lockdown on the then-epicenter of COVID-19 is lifted, a Chinese newspaper reported on Monday.
The 28-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain attacker was noticeably absent from the 23-player roster, which the Chinese Football Association (CFA) unveiled last Friday to prepare for the Olympic qualification playoffs against South Korea.
Jia Xiuquan, head coach of the Chinese side, was questioned over his selection of players by some fans, who accused him of freezing Wang out of his team.
The CFA issued another announcement last Saturday saying that more players could be added to the roster after the lockdown is lifted on Wuhan on April 8.
According to a report of Guangzhou-based Soccer News, Jia did not drop Wang for the two-legged ties against South Korea slated for June.
“Wang Shuang and her other two teammates were included in the list. They have been informed to be prepared to return to the Chinese team,” the report said.
Wang, along with two other teammates, has been stuck in Wuhan since the city was locked on January 23 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, and had to sit out of the first phase of the Chinese side’s Olympic qualification tournament.
Speculations about Wang’s position in the team abounded since the 2019 World Cup when Jia retorted a reporter who asked why he sent Wang on to the field only in the second half of China’s 1-0 loss to Germany in a group game.
“How do you think of her performance in the second half? Do you need to ask me for an answer?” he said.
“What I need is a team instead of a star in the team,” he added.
China performed well with Wang in the first phase of the Olympic qualification tournament in February as they beat Thailand and Chinese Taipei before drawing with Australia in the group games to qualify for the playoffs.