Sadness as former Grimsby Town FC player and China captain dies after celebrating 48th birthday
Former China football captain and Grimsby Town FC player Zhang Enhua died aged 48 on Thursday, according to reports in Chinese media.
This comes after he celebrated his 48th birthday just the day before, on Wednesday.
The news agency Xinhua, which is based in China, referenced a source “close to the family” to confirm the news, which quickly spread across Chinese social media platforms.
According to a post from the Chinese Football Association on Twitter, Zhang passed away following an ‘illness’.
He made his China debut in 1995, and was part of the squad who qualified for the 2002 Fifa World Cup in Japan and South Korea. This was the only time the Chinese team played in the World Cup.
From the mid to late 1990s, Zhang was part of the Dalian Shide team in China.
In November 2000, he left the team to join Grimsby Town FC, in which he played 17 times.
His performances saw him linked with a move to Crystal Palace, but instead he left Grimsby at the end of his loan and returned to Dalian.
Zhang was interviewed for the Grimsby Town matchday programme just last year, in which he reminisced about his time at the club.
He said: “The match was played in a traditional English style so players ran a lot, jumped a lot and even fought a lot! The ball was flying in the sky for most of the playing time!”
A tweet from Grimsby Town FC reads: “GTFC are saddened to hear of multiple reports from China announcing the passing of former Mariner Zhang Enhua at the age of 48. The former Chinese international signed for the club on loan in December 2000, making a total of 17 appearances. Rest In Peace, Zhang.”
🙏 #GTFC are saddened to hear of multiple reports from China announcing the passing of former Mariner Zhang Enhua at the age of 48.
The former Chinese international signed for the club on loan in December 2000, making a total of 17 appearances.
Rest In Peace, Zhang. pic.twitter.com/a0hRQYjG7c
— Grimsby Town F.C. (@officialgtfc) April 29, 2021
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Zhang’s family at this sad time.