The victory of the Chinese football championship by Vítor Pereira is “very good for the image” of about 100 Portuguese coaches based in China, said some technicians, demanding more institutional support.
“I am here in a group of Portuguese coaches at Wechat [the Chinese Whatsapp] and everyone is commenting that it is very good for our image,” says Francisco Duarte, 29, and soccer coach at a public school in northern Beijing.
Vítor Pereira took the Shanghai SIPG to the first Chinese championship title today by imposing a 2-1 win at Beijing Renhe in the 29th and penultimate round of the championship.
The title breaks with an absolute dominance of seven years of Guangzhou Evergrande in the maximum test of the soccer of the Asian country.
“For being a champion with Shanghai, not with Guangzhou, in which I would be one more, makes the victory more special,” says Francisco Duarte.
Gonçalo Figueira, who trains Chinese coaches at a soccer academy in the south of the country, praises Vítor Pereira’s “adaptability”.
“Shanghai [SIPG] is very organized, I think strategically it has built good teams and managed to adapt to Chinese football, which is not easy,” he told.
The Portuguese coach, who in December 2017 succeeded André Villas-Boas at the helm of the Shanghai SIPG, was crowned champion at the start of the Shanghai season, as he had in 2011 at FC Porto, replaced the compatriot.
Espinho’s natural coach was the only one of the three Portuguese coaches who started and ended the season in China – and soon as champion – once Paulo Bento and Paulo Sousa rescinded contracts with Chongqing Lifan and Tianjin Quanjian, respectively.
Almost 100 Portuguese soccer coaches live in China today, from the province of Jilin, on the border with North Korea, to the tropical island of Hainan, in the far south of the country.
Some are hired by professional clubs and others are integrated into the public education system, which included in 2015 the school sports modality, part of a government-mandated “football reform plan”, aimed at raising Chinese selection to the status of great power.
Francisco Duarte regrets, however, that “[Portuguese] federation or the National Association of Football Coaches in no way” support technicians based in China, “contrary to other countries, namely Spain”, where there are a ” and structured programs for trainers in China. ”
“There should be something more structured to promote us and bring in more coaches. We are alone, each one for himself,” he describes.