Chinese go-chess master Nie Weiping has urged the Chinese men's team football players to learn to play his sport to improve their on-field performance.

Nie, 67, who claimed to be a football fan, has always been critical of the Chinese side players' intelligence.

"I have repeatedly advised all the Chinese team players to learn to play go-chess. You need to have a good brain and a grasping of the whole game to play football," he said on Tuesday.

He noted that the Chinese side should not expect any easy passage to the World Cup finals after their 2002 success.

"The reason why they could qualify for the finals is mainly because South Korea and Japan, as hosts, skipped the qualifiers. I am afraid this will hardly happen again in the future," he said.