ZIMBABWE international forward Nyasha Mushekwi is set to make his historic bow in the Chinese Super League tomorrow, becoming the first player to feature in that mega-rich league which has attracted a host of international superstars, when his Dalian Yifang travel to Shanghai for a tough fixture against Shanghai SIPG.
The Shanghai giants finished as runners-up in the Chinese Super League last year and, according to Forbes, they are the third-most valuable football club in China, with a club value of over $159 million and estimated revenue of $37 million as of three years ago.
They are captained by Brazilian international forward Hulk and also have another Samba Boy, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar, in their squad.
Mushekwi has been grabbing headlines, including a post on ESPN, who were celebrating that he is set to become the first Zimbabwean footballer to play in the Chinese Super League which gets underway this weekend.
The 31-year-old Zimbabwean international has also been the Dalian Yifang standout player during pre-season, which also took them to South Korea, and scored in two of their three matches, a 1-1 draw against Shadong Luneng, whose goal came from Italian international Grazianno Pelle.
Mushekwi also scored in the 3-1 win over Chehu Halla University last Saturday.
He top-scored with 16 goals for his club as they ended the second-tier league as champions last year to earn a place in the Chinese Super League.
Dalian Yifang have been on a strengthening drive and have signed former West Ham defender Jose Fonte and two players from Atletico Madrid – Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitau, who is also a winger, of Argentina.
Chinese Super League clubs are supposed to field, in one game, three foreign players and Dalian Yifang have off-loaded Ivorian forward Yannick Boli and Argentine defender Jonathan Ferrari to make up for the new arrivals.
Mushekwi remains a key member of the side and his prominent role in the club’s promotion, and during pre-season, show that a lot will be expected from him in terms of goals.
Wanda Group were reported to be interested in investing in Dalian Yifang by selling their stake in overseas investments, including Atletico Madrid, since the Chinese government put a strict rules on domestic funding to invest in foreign enterprises.
The official Dalian Yifang squad for this season, which gets underway this weekend, shows that Mushekwi is one of the players the club are banking on to help them stand the heat in the tougher Chinese Super League.
The league has been making waves around the world and recently Cedrid Bakambu became Africa’s most expensive player when he joined Beijing Guoan.
The 26-year-old, who is set to take on the Warriors in a Nations Cup qualifier in September, joined the Imperial Guards on a four-year deal after meeting Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s £35,4 million release clause.
Beijing Guoan completed an unbelievable African-record deal to sign Villarreal forward Cedric Bakambu for £65 million.
The DRC international penned a four-year deal with the Chinese Super League and was presented as a Guoan player as a media conference recently.
Bakambu’s fee eclipsed that which Arsenal paid for the services of Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January after his release clause worth $50 million was activated.
The forward would be hoping to add more attacking bite to Roger Schmidt’s side that finished ninth in the Chinese topflight last season. Before his unveiling, Bakambu had commenced training with his new teammates in Portugal, with the Imperial Guards releasing his photos in training.
He joined Villarreal in 2015 from Turkish side Bursaspor, where he had scored 21 goals in his sole season with the club.
The former France youth international scored 46 times for the Yellow Submarine and remains the only African ever to receive LaLiga’s Player of the Month award. – Sports Reporter/Goal.com
Source: Nehanda Radio