China tour opening a success

Words: ACFC Media

Monday 8 July 2024

Picture: Tianjin Media

TIANJIN, China - Auckland City FC’s tour of China is underway as a mixed U-13 boys and girls team arrived in Tianjin on Saturday.

The group arrived in Shanghai after a 12 hour flight but were delayed there for six hours before a new connecting flight was established.

Upon arrival at the palatial Shanghai Shangri-La in central Tianjin, the boys and girls went to Tianjin Tiger’s exciting 2-2 draw with Changchun in the Chinese Super League in front of 30,000 fans.

Members of the Auckland City FC squad were also involved in the pre-match protocol as player escorts marking a wonderful and imagination capturing moment for the New Zealanders.

General Manager Gordon Watson said the trip was an arduous one but well worth the effort.

“The hospitality and generosity shown by our hosts Dajili Ltd, the city of Tianjin and its people, has been incredible and we owe a debt of gratitude not just to them but also Tong Zhou who organised this tour.

“The facilities are impressive and no effort has been spared in setting the scene and were very fortunate to enjoy what has been prepared for Auckland City FC, the children and youth, and their parents,” he said.

After a day of rest, the delegation travelled across Tianjin to participate in an opening ceremony with Dajili Ltd representatives as the team enjoyed its first run together against an opponent made up of locals.

“The focus of this tour is very much aimed at building relationships and exploring new opportunities from a cultural and football perspective and on that count the players have embraced what China, specifically Tianjin, has had to offer in this regard.

“It is also clear that without the input of Tong Zhou this would not be possible otherwise - he brings an energy, verve and vision to coaching children and youth, he has the personality to be very good at it for a long time to come,” he said.

The delegation stays in Tianjin until Wednesday before moving on to Beijing where the players will participate in games, cultural exchanges and possibly see The Great Wall of China.

A visit to the biggest football stadium in China is also in the offing before the team returns to Auckland on Saturday 13 July 2024.


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