Sergo Batista: “I enjoy riding Shanghai garbage trucks”
In what seems an endless stream of bizarre Shanghai Shenhua stories this season, head coach Sergio Batista told local media he regularly rides refuse collection vehicles in the city.
In an interview with the Oriental Sports Daily, the former Argentina coach, told a reporter he was a “simple man, who enjoys simple pleasures”.
Presumably growing weary of the usual banal questions not about sport, from local sports journalists, he gave a somewhat unusual response when asked what such rustic pleasures these may be.
“Oh, those kind of trucks they have to carry away rubbish, we wait for them to empty their rubbish out, then we pay the driver 30 rmb for a 10 minute ride in his truck.”
The Argentinian revealed that he had ample opportunity to indulge in his intriguing hobby, as such trucks often passed by his apartment in the Xintiandi neighbourhood of central Shanghai.
It’s unknown whether the Batista was having a laugh at Dongfang Tiyu’s expense, or if he’s trying to find the remnants of Shenhua’s 2012 CSL campaign in the back of one these trucks.
However, it may be the former, as he also revealed in the same interview that he is afraid to go outside during thunderstorms, since “I am quite tall, so if someone is going to be struck during a storm, that person is sure to be me.”
It may be superstition, wicked humour, or mis-translation, but it’s all very much part of the footballing soap opera that is Shanghai Shenhua.
Author: Cameron Wilson
UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer Cameron Wilson has been writing about Chinese football since 2005 for various International and China-based news outlets such as Agence France-Presse, Goal.com, Shanghaiist, China Sports Review, That’s Shanghai, Time out Shanghai and City Weekend. In August 2010 he decided to launch a website dedicated to Chinese football as a central despository for all of his writings ont he subject.
He’s traveled all over China following Shanghai Shenhua as a fully paid-up member of its infamous Blue Devil’s supporters group.
His association with China stretches back over a decade, having first arrived in August 2000 to teach English for a year in a rural town a few hours northwest of Shanghai. He took in his first Chinese football match during this time – a 2-1 victory for Shanghai Shenhua against Dalian Shide. He went home to the UK in July 2001 but returned to China to live in Shanghai in 2005. Since then he’s been a Shanghai Shenhua season ticket holder and a member of the Blue Devil’s supporters’ club. The views expressed by him on Wild East Football may suffer from a slight bias to this effect.
He is also however, still very much a fan of his hometown team, Dunfermline Athletic. A “Par from afar”, as it were.
A passionate believer in the power of the beautiful game to build bridges between diverse peoples and cultures, he was the first foreign fan to travel with the Blue Devil fans’ club to an away match – a tremendous 3-2 victory for Shenhua over Beijng Guoan in September 2007.
Cameron speaks decent mandarin and can crack jokes in Shanghainese.