By Bridget O’Donnell
Jean Tigana will no longer be the head coach of Shanghai Shenhua.
In yet another setback for Shanghai Shenhua, the team lost to Tianjin Teda 0-1 Friday night. Following the loss Jean Tigana formally resigned as the team’s head coach Sunday night, putting the organization in a coaching meltdown.
He is expected to be replaced by new assistant coach Jean-Florent Ibenge.
Friday’s game also marked Nicolas Anelka’s debut game as player-coach for the squad. The superstar striker and former Chelsea footballer, who signed on with Shenhua in January, assumed the new role on Thursday as part of a massive coach reshuffling. The organization fired three assistant coaches and brought on four new ones from France and Britain.
Though Tigana was kept on following Thursday’s reshuffling, speculation swirled that he would resign soon. It was all but confirmed when the coach was seen leaving Hongkou Stadium just before Friday’s kickoff. According to Shanghai Daily, he was reportedly told not to take the coach’s seat.
Australian striker Joel Griffiths also wasn’t in attendance, even though the team gave no notice about his condition. Griffiths later told the AFP after the game “it’s obvious” Tigana had left the team.
Neither Anelka nor Tigana attended the post-game press conference, which according to Shanghai Daily was too short for reporters to ask questions.
Shenhua’s deputy team leader Yan Xiang was quoted as saying: “Our coaching staff is going through some reconstruction and changes.”
Photo via Sina.com.