Shenhua say Tigana no longer coach

26 April 2012 02:17

Shanghai Shenhua said Thursday they have terminated the contract of French head coach Jean Tigana, after a dismal start to the season for the Chinese football team.

Shenhua named former DR Congo national team coach Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge as acting head coach, according to a statement on the club's website, ending weeks of uncertainly over Tigana's position.

French striker Nicolas Anelka would remain on the coaching staff, Shenhua said.

The former Fulham and Monaco boss Tigana joined Shenhua in December as the club sought to improve their record after finishing in the bottom half of the Chinese Super League last season.

But the team have failed to live up to expectations, and Shenhua named Anelka as player-coach earlier this month, citing problems with the quality of training.

On April 16 however, Tigana denied he had resigned from the club after state media reported the news.

Chinese media later said Shenhua and Tigana were locked in a legal battle over compensation for his termination, which delayed the formal announcement that he was leaving the club.

Shenhua have won just two of seven matches so far this season -- though Tigana did not coach the last two games -- putting them in 10th place in the 16-club league.

The club announced the other new members of the coaching staff on Thursday.

They include Alioune Kissima Toure as assistant coach, former England goalkeeper Ian Walker as goalkeeper coach and Younousse El-Bouhssaini as fitness coach, the club said.

Anelka, the most high-profile foreign footballer to sign for the Chinese league, joined Shenhua in January amid hopes the former Arsenal and Chelsea player could boost the performance of the club.

With Anelka as player-coach -- his first such role in the game -- the man famously nicknamed "Le Sulk" for his surly demeanour must now help turn around the club and convince an increasingly sceptical fan base.

Tigana played alongside French football great Michel Platini for the national side and went on to coach at Lyon, Monaco, Fulham and Besiktas. He quit his job at Bordeaux in France in May last year after a disappointing run of results.

Source: AFP