Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has sent his condolences to the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and to the family and loved ones of former China defender Zhang Enhua who passed away at the age of 48 on Friday.
A true icon of Asian football, Zhang was a seven-time Chinese league champion and a key member of the Dalian Wanda side that dominated Chinese club football in the 1990s and who reached the final of the Asian Club Championship in 1998, where they lost on penalties to Pohang Steelers.
On the international stage, the reliable defender appeared 62 times for China and was a member of the squad that featured at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
The AFC President said, “On behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, please accept my deepest condolences and sympathies on the demise of Zhang Enhua.”
“He was a true legend of Asian football in every sense of the word and his stint in Europe served as an inspiration for the future generation of Chinese players. We are truly saddened to learn of his untimely passing and will always cherish his valuable contributions to the game.”
Zhang was one of the first Chinese players of the professional era to move to England when he had a brief spell with Grimsby Town, before playing for Tianjin Teda and finishing his career in Hong Kong with South China.
The thoughts and prayers of the AFC and the rest of the Asian football community are with the loved ones and friends of Zhang, the CFA and the Chinese football family during this difficult time.