Soccer

Fabio Cannavaro retains job at Evergrande after severe scolding by ownership

AFP-JIJI

Guangzhou Evergrande manager Fabio Cannavaro will remain in charge of the struggling Chinese first-division side for now, but only after a stinging rebuke from the club’s hierarchy who warned he needed to get things right.

The under-fire Cannavaro’s two-year reign appeared all but over last week after the club announced that he would be sidelined indefinitely while captain Zheng Zhi was given temporary control of the Chinese Super League leader.

The 46-year-old Italian has since returned to the helm, the club said, but only after he submitted a “deep self-reflection” report regarding his performance.

The announcement on an official Chinese social media account late Sunday commended Cannavaro for “actively nurturing the achievements of young players.”

But it criticised his “weak ability to rectify mistakes, and insufficiently strict handling of players.”

“If you are going to do it, do your best,” Evergrande Group chairman Xu Jiayin told Cannavaro, according to the statement.

The real estate giant owns the team.

Guangzhou added that Cannavaro was warned to work harder, improve the standard of his coaching staff, and “raise the players’ overall fighting ability to win the Chinese Super League” again.

Cannavaro was sacked once before by Guangzhou, following a failed stint there in 2014-2015.

Returning last year, Cannavaro failed to make it eight straight domestic league titles for the southern Chinese club.

In March, the 2006 World Cup-winning captain was named coach of the Chinese national side, alongside his job at Guangzhou.

But he failed to win either of his first two matches in charge of China and resigned, saying two roles were too much to handle concurrently.

Guangzhou then surged to the top of the CSL, but its form has faded badly in the last two months and the two-time Asian Champions League winner is now only a point ahead of 2018 champions Shanghai SIPG with three matches left in the season.

Evergrande failed to make the final of the ACL this month when it lost 3-0 on aggregate to the J. League’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the semifinal.

Cannavaro has also managed Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia and China’s Tianjin Quanjian.

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