Guangzhou R&F appoint van Bronckhorst as coach

Van Bronckhorst was in charge at Feyenoord from 2015 to 2019. (Facebook pic/Giovanni van Bronckhorst)

SHANGHAI: Former Barcelona and Arsenal star Giovanni van Bronckhorst was named coach of Chinese top-tier side Guangzhou R&F on Saturday.

The 44-year-old Dutchman succeeds the attack-minded Dragan Stojkovic, whose departure was announced less than 24 hours earlier.

“Under (Van Bronckhorst’s) coaching we expect that the club can settle down in the 2020 season, move forward and offer a whole new look to meet new challenges,” said a statement from Guangzhou, which finished 12th of 16 teams in last season’s Chinese Super League.

After a successful playing career, van Bronckhorst was in charge at Feyenoord from May 2015 to June 2019, winning the Dutch league and twice the cup.

The former Dutch international defender/midfielder will need to shore up a defence which conceded 72 goals in 30 CSL matches last season, the worst in the league.

The 54-year-old Stojkovic was coach for more than four years at the club in southern China, who have former Tottenham player Mousa Dembele in midfield.

They also boast in attack the Israeli international Eran Zahavi, who has consistently been one of the top-scoring players in Chinese football in recent seasons.

Van Bronckhorst, who retired as a player in July 2010, extends the Dutch influence at Guangzhou R&F – they have a youth academy run by Ajax.