Shanghai Shenhua Celebrates 30 Years, Gears Up for 2024 CSL Kick-Off

Shanghai Shenhua, marking its 30th birthday, initiated the celebratory mood by bestowing Lifetime Achievement awards upon Xu Genbao, the club’s inaugural head coach, and former captain Fan Zhiyi. This commemoration unfolded during the club’s expedition ceremony at the Shanghai Gymnasium, coinciding with the imminent kick-off of the 2024 Chinese Super League (CSL) season on March 1.

Acknowledging the club’s enduring journey, Fan Zhiyi expressed, “The club has encountered many ups and downs over the years,” emphasizing the club’s resilience and its significance to the fans. Despite ongoing adjustments, Fan highlighted Shenhua’s unwavering spirit, a vital factor contributing to its esteemed status in the hearts of its supporters.

Shenhua, one of China’s oldest football clubs, has a storied history, securing victories in the top-tier Jia-A League in 1995 and clinching the Chinese FA Cup in 1998, 2017, 2019, and 2023. The club witnessed peaks and valleys, attracting international football luminaries like Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, experiencing a shift in ownership to state-owned Juss Sports and relocating its home ground from Hongkou Football Stadium to Shanghai Stadium.

Notably finishing fifth in the 16-team CSL table last season, Shenhua now braces for the new season with a quartet of additions: striker Xie Pengfei, midfielder Gao Tianyi, Brazilian striker Andre Luis, and Portuguese defender Wilson Manafa. Club president Gu Jiqing emphasized the need for improvement in technical and tactical aspects and the continuous development of the club’s professional structure.

Reflecting on the challenges faced in the previous season, Gu Jiqing expressed optimism for the upcoming campaign, stating, “We hope to find the right development path for the club as soon as possible. Only by taking each step steadily can we reach new heights.”

As the reigning 2023 FA Cup champions, Shenhua’s inaugural match in 2024 promises to be a riveting Chinese Super Cup clash against city rivals Shanghai Port, the 2023 CSL champions. Scheduled for Sunday at 4 pm at Hongkou Football Stadium, safety measures have been implemented, with rival fans advised to take different metro lines for a smooth ingress and egress – Shenhua fans using Line 8 and Port supporters opting for Line 3.

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