Shenhua set to name Batista as new coach, reports

30 May 2012 05:46

Shanghai's Shenhua football club has said it will name a new head coach on Wednesday, amid reports that former Argentina manager Sergio Batista has been appointed to the role.

The Oriental Sports Daily said Batista, who arrived in Shanghai last Friday, would be formally named coach at the news conference later on Wednesday, although a club official declined to confirm this to AFP.

Batista, who led Argentina to Olympic gold in 2008, would take the job vacated by Frenchman Jean Tigana, who was sacked in April after a weak start to the season for the Chinese Super League club.

His arrival throws into question the coaching duties of star French striker Nicolas Anelka, who has been acting as player-coach for Shenhua.

Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge -- a former DR Congo national manager -- has been serving as acting head coach following Tigana's departure, but Shenhua said last week rules required it to name a permanent replacement.

The club is languishing in ninth place in the 16-club league after a rare win against Guizhou Renhe on Sunday.

Anelka, who sat out the last match due to suspension, is reportedly upset that Batista will take over but he said last week he would remain with the club.

The most high-profile foreign footballer to sign for the Chinese league, Anelka joined Shenhua in January on a two-year contract for a reported salary of 234,000 euros ($307,000) a week.

Shenhua are also seeking to snap up Anelka's former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba, fresh from his Champions League triumph.

Source: AFP

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