Lippi facing roller coaster ride in China

When Marcello Lippi announced that he was ready to get back into football, few imagined the celebrated Italian coach would find a home in China.

Now Lippi, one of the world's most successful managers, is facing one of his trickiest tests in the trigger-happy Chinese Super League (CSL) with his new club, Guangzhou Evergrande.

On Sunday, the white-haired Lippi, 64, whose last assignment was leading defending champions Italy at the 2010 World Cup, started his new life with a narrow 1-0 home win over basement club Qingdao Joonon.

Around 40,000 fans flocked to Guangzhou's Tianhe stadium to see Lippi, the most famous coach to join a Chinese team, with many wearing the shirts of Juventus, his former team, and one banner reading "Forza Li Pi".

Supporters chanted Lippi's name constantly in a hero's welcome for the man who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy -- and who is now expected to deliver the Asian club title for the vastly ambitious Guangzhou.

"I'm not interested in the score, no matter if it's three or four nil, my task is to take this club to a higher level," Lippi said after the game, won by a goal from Chinese international Gao Lin, according to Sina Sports.

With the reigning Chinese champions already top of the league, Lippi's task begins in earnest next Wednesday, when he will attempt to steer Guangzhou past FC Tokyo and into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

It's a daunting challenge: a one-off game, just two weeks into the job, with an unfamiliar group of players. And in China, as other coaches have learned, the price of failure can be high.

Last month Jean Tigana, then the Super League's highest profile coach, departed Shanghai Shenhua after just a handful of games, and was replaced by a makeshift coaching line-up including French striker Nicolas Anelka.

And Guangzhou showed no emotion with Lippi's predecessor Lee Jang-Soo, who won promotion and then the Chinese title in consecutive seasons, and was sacked with the club leading the league and qualified for the continental knock-outs.

Lee had squabbled with star player Dario Conca, who received a nine-match ban for publicly criticising the coach -- a ban that was quietly shelved as he played in last week's Champions League game, and again on Sunday.

Lippi has experience in dealing with assertive players at Juventus, with whom he won five Serie A titles and the European Champions League, as well as expectant team bosses.

But a cautionary tale comes from Scots-born Australian manager Lawrie McKinna, who left China's Chengdu Blades last year over boardroom interference and quickly found a similar situation at his next club, Chongqing Lifan.

"I got called into the boss's room and he started to tell me a few of the older players I had not been playing had to come back in to the team," McKinna wrote on an Australian football blog.

"I could not agree with what he was saying and so decided to hand in my resignation as I had been through this at Chengdu last year and was not going to go through it again."

Lippi's last job ended badly, when reigning champions Italy were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup at the group stage, and it was nearly a year before he said he was ready to coach again. He will hope for happier times in China.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Get SAF 44 killers before BBL passage’
    ‘Get SAF 44 killers before BBL passage’

    Lawmakers are demanding the arrest of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters involved in the killing of 44 policemen in Mamasapano before the approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member ad hoc committee in the House of Representatives deliberating on the BBL, prodded the Department of Justice (DOJ) to speed up its investigation and file charges against the MILF guerrillas as the Aquino administration …

  • Pinoys dance for Earth Hour
    Pinoys dance for Earth Hour

    The Philippines once again displayed its support Saturday night for the worldwide observance of Earth Hour by hosting a dance party after turning the lights off from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. to save energy and make a statement on various environmental issues. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said widespread participation proved anew that no individual action on climate change is too small and that no collective vision is too big with celebrations in over 7,000 hubs in 170 countries. The WWF said …

  • Phl offers Sabah to win Malaysia’s support for UN case vs China
    Phl offers Sabah to win Malaysia’s support for UN case vs China

    The Philippines has offered to downgrade its claim on Sabah in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its case against China before the United Nations. The quid pro quo was contained in a note verbale the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) handed to a representative of the Malaysian embassy last week, a week after the visit of Malaysian Defense Minister Dato  Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. The note verbale, a copy of which was obtained by VERA Files, referred to the May 6, 2009 joint submission …

  • Maysak to enter Phl Wednesday
    Maysak to enter Phl Wednesday

    A typhoon with international name Maysak is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday and bring rains over Northern Luzon by weekend, the state weather bureau said yesterday. Aldczar Aurelio, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the typhoon was 2,810 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 10 a.m. yesterday. “This typhoon is still too far to affect any part of the country,” the weather …

  • Nonviolent disciplining of kids pushed

    Child rights advocates called on senators to pass and strongly endorse a law that will institutionalize positive and nonviolent methods of disciplining children.The Child Rights Network (CRN), Plan International Philippines (PIP), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLPCD), and Lihok Pilipinas Foundation led the call for the enactment of the Positive Discipline Bill.Several Quezon City Council members led by Majority Floor Leader Jesus Manuel Suntay, Victor Ferrer …

  • Method to their madness

    [caption id="attachment_256768" align="alignright" width="212"] Illustration by Rod Cañalita[/caption] EMMANUEL PORTUGAL Country Manager for the Philippines, VMware I look after the garden. I’d like to think that I have a green thumb—no plants have died so far! The ones I like now that I planted a few months ago is the Blue Iris. Like the town in the movie, my Blue Iris shows up in the morning and only appears for one day. …

  • JGFP Summer Tour on today

    The summer tour for local junior golfers kicks off with the holding of the ICTSI-JGFP Baguio Junior Open today and tomorrow at the treacherous Baguio Country Club course in Baguio.Sixty players aged 6 to 17 years old are entered in the 36-hole tourney serving as the opening leg of the summer circuit organized by the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Foundation as main sponsor. ... …

  • PH now market ready to absorb infra bonds

    The Philippine market is now ready to absorb infrastructure bonds that will be issued by private companies amid a growing pipeline of infra-related projects under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. President Benigno Aquino III last week said the government is still committed to spend more on the country’s infrastructure, with 16 PPP projects currently on the pipeline and nine that have already been awarded. Over the years, some of the country’s biggest infrastructure …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options