(Soccer) Brazilian Elkeson to don China jersey

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

China named Elkeson in their squad for their opening World Cup qualifier with the Brazilian poised to be the first without Chinese ancestry to play for the country, AFP reports.

Coach Marcello Lippi has long complained about a dearth of attacking options and has moved to plug the gap with the 30-year-old, who will use the Chinese name Aikesen.

The move to naturalize a Brazilian is controversial and comes after China similarly gave a passport to London-born midfielder Nico Yennaris. The former Arsenal man however is half-Chinese, whereas Guangzhou Evergrande striker Elkeson qualifies for China having played in the country since 2013.

Along with Espanyol forward Wu Lei and Yennaris, Elkeson is part of a 35-man squad named by Italian World Cup winner Lippi for China's game at the Maldives on September 10.