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Anelka becomes player-coach at Shenhua - Wild East Football
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Anelka becomes player-coach at Shenhua

Nicolas Anelka is set to be unveiled as a member of a new-look coaching team at Shanghai Shenhua today, in a surprise move aimed at kick-starting the club’s moribund season, according to Chinese sports media.

Yesterday news broke that the club had fired three French coaches brought to Shanghai by Tigana after first team squad members complained that their coaching methods were not working, during a meeting to discuss why the team has underperformed so far.

Sina Sports reports the club will today reveal the identities of four new staff, one of whom appears to be former Tottenham and England custodian Ian Walker who would take up a goalkeeper coaching role. The other staff are former Birmingham City fitness coach Dan Harris, and French coaches Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge and Alioune Kissima Touré.

The move would be another rapid promotion for Anelka, having been named club captain on his debut for Shenhua against Beijing Guoan last month.

UPDATE: To avoid any confusion, Anelka is joining the coaching team underneath Tigana who remains head coach at Shenhua, for the time being at least.


A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.



  1. Steve

    12/04/2012 at 14:32

    Ian Walker?! Does this mean we can look forward to Wang Dalei receiving expert guidance in how to develop a nice glossy center-parting?

  2. Todd

    12/04/2012 at 16:09

    Couldn’t the language/culture barrier be the real problem? Promoting the notoriously ‘hard to manage’ Anelka could cause some problems. What must the other players think?

  3. Green Green Baby

    12/04/2012 at 17:06

    so Anelka has revealed his true intention joining Shanghai Shenhua finally…
    Yes, i ‘m willing to bet that the real coach in charge is gonna be Anelka,LOL..
    Big trouble brewing in Shanghai!!!

    • Arxtor

      12/04/2012 at 17:58

      Anelka has been appointed player/coach without being consulted ; in the grand Chinese tradition where the head management makes decisions. He never asked to be coach , nether said he wanted to be (at least not for the moment) and came here to live a last adventure as player before thinking of his “post player” carreer.
      Appointing him player/coach is the worse decision they could make; Tigana will have no more power.
      It’s sad to say but Tigana should not have come ; once again a desappointing experience for him and it will only get worse.
      The salvation for Shenhua would be to find a Chinese coach who really knows football and have experience outside of china. One with a strong character and enough power to shut up all the wankers in the team who complain because the training program doesn’t suit them.

      We all know that even if they should , chinese don’t listen to foreigners because “whatever, he is just a loawai, he doesn’t understand the chinese way”. Thtat is why Shenhua needs a Chinese coach who has experience with foreign players and can communicate with them without an interpret.

  4. Peter I

    12/04/2012 at 18:07

    theres loads of confusion on twitter, people think hes been named player manager!

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