The news may come as a shock to many Shenhua followers, given the fact that current coach, Miroslav Blažević, has a year to run on his contract and is considered to have had a sucessful first season in charge, having all but secured an Asian Champions League berth and most likely second place in the Chinese Super League.
The Shanghai Daily, as always only reporting on Shenhua when they are doing something bad or controversial, quoted anonymous sources saying Maradona was due to make a trip to Shanghai soon to meet Zhu Jun.
Sina Sports said in an unsourced report that Maradona would take charge for Shenhua’s Asian Champions League (ACL) games only, adding that Shenhua have already began discussions with Maradona’s agent in Argentina and that the footballing legend is said to have great interest in the proposal.
The report quite rightly comments that the situation is contradictory, since Blažević has already proved his worth, then quotes someone connected with Shenhua as saying “There’s precedent for such two-coach systems in world football elsewhere, why can’t Shenhua try it?”
Your correspondent thinks that, of all Zhu Jun’s hare-brained schemes, such as selecting himself in the starting 11 against Liverpool, changing the colour of Shenhua’s playing colours, etc, this has got to be the most stupid of all.
Shenhua fans may rightly wonder what the point in having a separate coach for the ACL when there is a distinguished manager of long-standing experience in the shape of Blažević who is fully expecting to lead the team in the continental cup next season. can only guess at what Zhu Jun is thinking about, spending what would be an astronomical amount of money to hire a coach when they are already paying a perfectly good one to do the job.
There is also the small matter of Maradona’s coaching credentials, which are somewhat lacking compared to his glowing playing career. He is an incompetant coach, having only barely gotten Argentina to the World Cup earlier this year, then getting spanked 4-0 by the first decent team they encountered, Germany. Quite apart from that, if Maradona was a coach of any real ability, he would not be short of offers and wouldn’t be entertaining involving himself with bizarre notions such as the one in question.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015