Tuesday, July 26, 2011
So far so good
Bojan Hodak, who made the move to the Chinese Super League champions Shandong Luneng at the start of June. Bojan is assistant coach to his Croatian colleague Rajko Magic and together the pair have overseen the team in 7 matches since Bojan arrived. Of those 7 matches, 5 have been away, 2 at home and Shandong have yet to lose, winning 4 of them and drawing the other 3. Whilst leaders Guangzhou are way out in front, Shandong are currently in 4th place in the league table, but just two points from second spot. So as you can imagine, Bojan is pretty pleased with everything so far. The club attracts home attendances above 20,000 and there were 45,000 to watch their game in Beijing recently. I asked what was the difference between football in Southeast Asia and in China. Bojan replied: "It's a different world if you compare to anything in SE Asian football. The stadiums, the money, training facilities, and of course the quality of the players. We have a Brazilian defender who played in Italy for nine years, latterly with Lecce. We have a Lebanese international who came from FC Koln in the Bundesliga, a Honduran who was with Parma in Serie A and Torino, we have 5 Chinese internationals, one who played at Schalke and 1 played at PSV Eindhoven. The quality of players I am working with is a massive difference. In addition, I am positively surprised with the lifestyle here in Jinan for me and my family." So all in all, a dream move for Bojan and his family. Long may it continue.