Drogba Who? Wild East Football analyses those who have already made an impact on the Chinese Super League before this summer’s influx of football mega stars.
Drogba dressing room dressing downs, Yakubu’s constant goals, Kanoute’s injury and Keita finding form, the summer’s foreign imports have again been in the news in the last couple of weeks and it makes the Chinese leagues limit of five foreigners per team seem all the more important, if just a few imports can create this much news it’s a good job there aren’t more!
After looking at Muriqui and how he smashed all statistics based on impact, it seems fitting to go a little more grounded as we look at our next waiyuan, Анзур Исмаилов or Anzur Ismailov of Changchun Yatai.
Changchun Yatai are themselves the Tottenham Hotspur of the CSL, always there in amongst the top dogs but never the winners. Led by current boss, Svetozar Šapurić of Serbia they have qualified for the Asia Champions League on two occasions, in 2008 and 2010 but perhaps more impressively they have six straight seasons in the CSL. Stability is the all important word for the Changchun side.
Key to the stability is the rearguard and Changchun have a less than obvious choice with their rock at the back, Uzbekistani Ismailov who has racked up an impressive 52 appearances in the last two seasons for Yatai. Prior to his move to China, Ismailov had made his name with FK Samargand-Dinamo, Traktor Tashkent and Bunyodkor, points for anyone who knew any of those sides! However, internationally with Uzbekistan he has the Asian Cup in 2007 and a 2011 fourth place in the same competition to his name.
Before his arrival, Yatai were on steady form; six wins, six defeats and six draws, a 33% win rate. 22 goals were scored, 1.22 per game and 25 conceded, 1.38 goals per game. Ismailov joined February 7th 2011 to shore up the Changchun defense and made his debut against Henan Jianye on April 2nd. The immediate impact of Ismailov was just two loses in the first 18 games as well as nine draws and five wins, even scoring in a 2-2 draw himself. Changchun scored 20, 1.11 goals per game and conceded only 15, 0.83 per game.
Not quite Muriqui or Muslimović levels of impact but its clear that the Uzbekistan international had a greatly positive effect for Changchun. The Dongbei side currently chase the Asia Champions league spots and with someone like Anzur Ismailov who had an immediate impact on their defence, the rearguard of Yatai is in great hands.
Next time we turn to Beijing to look at Guoan legend and Tianjin Teda turncoat Darko Matić and the defensive rocks impact on the fortunes of the Imperial Guards.
Author: Peter Davis
Pete is from Sheffield, England and came to China in 2008 initially living in Shenyang where he witnessed his first CSL game, Liaoning Whowin v Chengdu Blades. Pete is a fanatic Sheffield Wednesday fan but has picked up football allegiances from various trips, Galatasary in Turkey, Piacenza in Italy and Muangthong United in Thailand. In early 2009 he moved to Beijing and after a brief time started attending Guoan games regularly.
Pete graduated in Journalism in the UK and has written for several educational publications on Chinese education for his day job as well as Chinese football for WEF which he wishes was more developed but avidly follows the Imperial Guards on their quest for CSL supremacy regardless.