Head coach Li Tie is seen before a Group A match between China and Guam at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu province, May 30, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

SUZHOU, ChinaChina head coach Li Tie on Tuesday expressed his determination to push forward with his side’s campaign after the FIFA World Cup qualifiers scheduled to be played in China were moved to the United Arab Emirates.

The remaining matches of Asian World Cup qualifying Group A were scheduled to be held in a bubble in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, but after China defeated Guam 7-0 on Sunday, it was decided that the remaining fixtures would be transferred to the UAE since the Maldives team and some of Syria players, who planned to fly to China on a chartered flight from Dubai, failed to gain permission to enter China.

Several COVID-19 infections were found within the Maldives and Syrian sides, the Chinese Football Association said.

The Chinese side has to rise to the occasion and brace themselves for an unexpected trip to the UAE, where everything will have to be made ready in a short time.

Li, who took over the Chinese side in January of 2019, refused to be deterred by all the uncertainties lying in wait for his team.

“All the arrangements available are the best ones we can get. We have no other option but to stay united and press ahead,” he wrote on social media on Tuesday.

Li thanked the Chinese fans who came to the stadium on Sunday to witness his side’s first competitive game since he took over the head coach position.

“I was very much touched by a phrase which reads: Our home is where you are. Thanks for all your support,” he wrote.

China sits in the second spot of Group A with 10 points, five points off of leader Syria.