By Bridget O’Donnell
Nicolas Anelka will become a player-coach for Shanghai Shenhua as part of a massive team reshuffling following a disappointing start to the CSL season.
Shanghai Shenhua announced today that Nicolas Anelka will help coach the team in addition to playing.
The French striker was brought in from Chelsea in January after Shenhua finished at the bottom half of the CSL rankings last year. The addition of Anelka to the squad so far hasn’t made much of an impact — the team remains in 11th place in the CSL with a 1-2-2 record. In those five games, Anelka — the highest profile foreign player to ever join the CSL — has scored two of the team’s five goals.
Anelka’s new role as player-coach will certainly be needed as the team just fired three assistant coaches this morning. But management denied reports that it had also fired French head coach Jean Tigana.
The team also signed four additional assistant coaches: Frenchmen Alioune Kissima Toure and Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge, and Britons Dan Harris and Ian Michael Walker.
The club issued a statement on the reshuffling, saying:
“Due to the team’s recent record which has not met the expectations and demands of the club’s fans, media and other parties and the fact the foreign players are in urgent need of high-quality training the club has made the decision to replace some members of the coaching staff.”
Shenhua return to Hongkou Football Stadium tomorrow evening to face off against Tianjin Teda.