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Drogba Who? Foreigner Focus on James Chamanga

The first wai yuan we looked at was Bosnia-Hertz international Zlatan Muslimović, his impact on the CSL with Guizhou Renhe being a surefire hit with his team’s win-rate improving by 22% with him in the side. Anelka, Drogba, Kanoute and co. can only hope for such an amazing turn in form.

The next player under the microscope though can indeed say Drogba Who? As he has something the Ivory Coast forward craves, an African Cup of Nations medal, none other than recent Dalian Shide centurion, James Chamanga.

Pre-China, Chamanga had very few long term spells in his home country of Zambia with a 10 goal spell at Zanaco F.C. being his biggest haul. He is however one cap off 50 for his national side where he has contributed 16 goals including a strike in the 2012 African Cup of Nations in the quarterfinals against Sudan. His move to China in 2008 would set an example for his countrymen, including national captain Christopher Katongo and Isaac Chansa, who came to the CSL this year.

Dalian Shide are one of China’s best at producing top home grown talent with Hao Haidong, Sun Jihai and Dong Fangzhou all hailing from the Dongbei side. They’ve also attracted solid foreign exports like French international Nicolas Ouédec and former Arsenal left winger Glenn Helder.

18 games was the measuring stick of Zlatan Muslimović’s impact but Chamanga is something of a cult figure already with Dalian Shide with 28 goals in his 100 games with the club, eight in 18 this season alone for the 32 year old clearly rejuvenated by his national sides victory in the African Cup of Nations. This season’s eight goals include a celebratory hat-trick against Tianjin Teda in his 100th game.

In 2008, James Chamanga arrived in Dalian. The 18 games before his arrival there were five wins, eight draws and five loses. The team scored 17 and conceded 22 during the 18 games with an average of 0.94 goals per game, conceding 1.22 goals per game. Overall the percentage of games won was 28%.

September 15, 2008 and the Zambian international arrived at a struggling Dalian side and started superbly with four goals in four games despite three games being a 2-1 reverse for Dalian Shide. He went on to bag a goal each against Beijing Guoan and Shenzhen Ruby as well as a brace against Changchun Yatai, eight goals in the first 18 made for an impressive start for Chamanga.

The impact he had for the team though resulted in Dalian Shide scoring 1.22 goals per game, 0.28 goals per game more than pre-Chamanga Dalian Shide, goals conceded were exactly the same but the teams win rate improved to 44% in those 18 games, 16% more wins for his new side. The biggest impact, of course, was that Chamanga’s goals were able to keep this old-guard club in the top flight that season, as they were able to stay above provincial rivals Liaoning and finish just out of the relegation zone.

Chamanga quickly became a fan favorite for Shide for his intense play, something that has also got him in trouble, as the first few years he was regularly one of the most carded players on the team. He had his best year with the seasiders in 2010, knocking in nine goals, but it looks like this year he’ll surpass that. His 18 game impact is slightly less than Zlatan Muslimović, but any CSL arrival will have to work pretty hard to match the Zambian forwards effect on his club.

Next week we look at Shandong Luneng’s captain of Lebanon, Roda Antar and his impact at the multi-time CSL winners, more importantly does he have the right to ask Drogba who?

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.

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