Things are going pretty well in Denmark for Anatole Abang. Since leaving the New York Red Bulls in August for a season-long loan to Hobro IK, the young forward has settled in to his club. He has been a regular starter for Hobro, and has scored three goals in 10 appearances. And he has also continued to receive regular call-ups to the Cameroon national team, despite the fact he is currently playing in the second tier of Danish professional soccer rather than MLS, the North American top flight.
Hobro and Abang suffered a a blip in form recently, losing three games in a row in the league and held scoreless in each of those matches. Abang further spoiled things for himself with a red card during the team's 5-0 loss to Fremad Amager. His subsequent suspension, and that of regular strike partner Wilfired Domoraud, meant Hobro had to go into its final league game before the Danish First Division's winter break without its preferred starting forwards.
Abang can look forward to participating in a promotion challenge when Hobro returns to league action in March.
But he may first have to prove he is still worth a starting spot, because the top team in the Danish First Division has decided it is time for a new head coach. Ove Pedersen has been let go and the club will now use the winter break to re-shape itself around the ideas of a new manager - once that new manager is appointed.
In the club's official statement on the matter, Chairman Lars Kuhnel explained why Hobro's board had unanimously decided to make a change:
It has been an extremely difficult decision when Ove is a lovely person and an extremely good coach...but the assessment is that our chances of promotion will be better to find another coach with new ideas
Coaching changes are not necessarily great news for RBNY loanees. Earlier this year, Karl Ouimette was sent on loan by RBNY to Jacksonville Armada. He was getting regular minutes until head coach Tony Meola was let go. Under a new manager, Ouimette's time on the field dried up.
Abang will hope to avoid the same fate. When he first arrived in Denmark (while RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch was insisting the player was "still here"), Abang impressed Pedersen and the Hobro staff with his instant determination to prove himself to his new club. He will need to summon the same enthusiasm and focus to ensure he continues to get the competitive minutes he requires to continue his development as a player.