Wang Shuang of China reacts during the round of 16 match between China and Italy at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in Montpellier, France, June 25, 2019. China lost 0-2. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)
Chinese star footballer Wang Shuang, who has been stranded in Wuhan since late January, is set to rejoin the women's national team as the lockdown on the then-epicenter of COVID-19 has been lifted.
BEIJING, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese women's national team playmaker Wang Shuang, who has been stranded in Wuhan since late January, is set to rejoin the national team as the lockdown on the then-epicenter of COVID-19 has been lifted on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain forward can finally leave Wuhan for Suzhou, an eastern Chinese City where the Chinese women's team is training, after the outbound travel restrictions on the provincial capital were lifted, ending a 76-day long lockdown.
Wang was noticeably absent from the 23-player roster which the Chinese Football Association (CFA) unveiled in late March to prepare for the Olympic qualification playoffs against South Korea.
China's head coach Jia Xiuquan (1st L) and players react after the Women's Olympic Football Tournament 2020 Qualifiers match between Australia and China in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
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.
Speculation about Wang's position in the team abounded since the 2019 World Cup when Jia gave a short retort to 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 snapped.
"What I need is a team instead of a star in the team," he added.
Wang Shuang (R) of China competes agasint Hong Hyeji of South Korea during their women's match at the 2019 East Asian Cup in Pusan, South Korea Dec. 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren)
Wang, along with two other teammates, has been stuck in Wuhan since the city was locked down on January 23 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, and had to sit out the first phase of the Chinese side's Olympic qualification tournament.
China performed well without 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.
They will face South Korea in the two-legged playoffs, which are slated for June 4 and 9. ■