Wellington Phoenix will head to China in just over a fortnight to contest the Capital Cup but the club hopes to return to New Zealand with much more than a piece of silverware.
Ernie Merrick’s side will tackle Beijing BG in the Chinese capital on July 27 as part of their pre-season preparations, with the clash poised to become an annual fixture.
Wellington and Beijing have enjoyed a sister city partnership over the past 10 years and the Kiwi club is hopeful of extending their relationship with the region.
"So we'll go up there and we'll talk to the Beijing clubs about player arrangements, coach arrangements, students coming down here to use our academy," Phoenix General Manager David Dome told the Dominion Post.
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"They'd come here and do English as a second language and then play football in our academy and we'd train them up and send them back to Beijing to be pro players up there.
"China's just gone bonkers on football and there's millions and millions of dollars being spent on football clubs and you can see they're buying up playing left right and centre."
The Hyundai A-League has generated huge publicity in China following Newcastle Jets’ acquisition by the Ledman Group in June, with the club confirming on Tuesday they will look to add a Chinese player to their roster for the upcoming campaign.
And the Phoenix are hoping to identify emerging talent in the Chinese market and develop them in the Hyundai A-League.
"There's an opportunity to try and identify these really good young Chinese players now, before they become too expensive, and bring them down to the A-League to be part of our team,” Dome said.