Also Friday, gunmen killed Pedro Picasso, assistant football coach of Mexico first-division team Indios, in the border city Ciudad Juarez, said Jacinto Segura, a spokesman for the local prosecutor's office.
The Indios brought good news seven months ago to the troubled city when they reached the semifinals of Mexico's first-division playoffs before losing to Pachuca.
Picasso, 34, coached Indios de Ciudad Juarez youth teams since 2005.
"The Indios family is at a loss to express its outrage," the club said in a statement. "He was a good, decent man. Pedro Picasso Garcia was snatched away by violence in the most vile way only known to cowards."
FOOTBALL is the beautiful game. And for football fans in China’s Henan province, aesthetically pleasing factors apply not only to the way their main club team plays but also to the person in charge – Yang Nan.
Yang is nicknamed “pretty manager” by fans of Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye, who are making their AFC Champions League debuts in 2010.
And most agree that she has done a pretty good job. She took over the club in 2001 when Henan were struggling in Division Two. This year, they finished third in the CSL behind Beijing Guoan and Changchun Yatai.
All this was done with minimum fuss. Yang refused to spend wildly and complemented prudent player purchasing with a strong development programme.
“Eighty per cent of our players are homegrown,” Yang told the-afc.com in an exclusive interview. “We have three tiers of youth development – U15, U17 and U19.
“The coaching staff have also contributed much to the achievements of the club. They have taken a great interest in planning for the long-term success of Henan Jianye.”
That interest and care has now been manifested in the ultimate privilege – the chance to take part in Asia’s premier club tournament.
Henan, who regularly attract packed houses at the 30,000-seater Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium, face 2008 champions Gamba Osaka, of Japan, Korea Republic’s Suwon Bluewing and the East play-off winners in Group G of the 2010 ACL.
“It is the first time Henan Jianye will be playing in the AFC Champions League so each group match is a new experience for us,” said Yang. “Gamba, Suwon and even the play-off clubs have played in the ACL before, so we will focus on each match.
“Personally I think Gamba are the strongest team in the group,” added Yang, basing her assessment on Gamba’s 1-0 victory over Shandong Luneng in the 2009 tournament. “Still, playing against Japanese and Korean clubs is never easy.”
One thing for sure, the club will be ready in terms of infrastructure and player strength for the ACL challenges that lie ahead.
She said the club have already started work on fulfilling AFC criteria to play in the ACL. The stadium is being renovated, new turf is being laid other improvements are being made to the giant screen, floodlighting and media facilities.
One requirement for ACL clubs is to have good support from the fans. In that sense, Henan are more than qualified.
For Yang, the support of the fans from the provincial capital of Zhengzhou and surrounding cities has been crucial to the club’s rise over the years.
“Last season in the CSL, our stadium was always full. And I have no doubt that we will have packed houses for our first AFC Champions League season,” said Yang.
“Henan fans are the best in China. The support comes not only from Zhengzhou city. Fans travel from other cities to watch our home and away matches. We really appreciate their loyal support.”
Apart from the fans, local politicians have also jumped on the Henan Jianye success wagon. The provincial governor and city mayor are big followers of the team.
“Even when we lost our last away match in Shenzhen, which cost us the title, we received a congratulatory letter from the governor and mayor,” said Yang.
She said the mayor even joined the throngs who welcomed the team back at the airport the following day. Defeat did not stop Henan fans from having a “victory” parade through the city.
“This reflects the joy we brought to the fans just by qualifying for the AFC Champions League,” she said.
One of the reasons for fan loyalty is the club’s name, Since the Jianye Group started supporting the club 16 years ago, the name has remained unchanged.
“We are one of only two clubs, the other being Beijing Guoan, who have stuck with the same name. I must thank the Jianye Group for their support,” said Yang.
Another name likely to stay is Yang’s own “pretty manager” label. With ACL qualification, loyal fans and a burning ambition to succeed, Yang and Henan are well on the way to establishing themselves as prime exponents of the beautiful game in China.
i've never heard of a female manager for a professional male team, are there others?