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Can Zapata pull GU out of the red?

KABELO BORANABI
Zapata is expected to take charge at GU
Former league champions, Gaborone United have settled on Argentinean development coach Rodolfo Zapata. Mmegi Sport Correspondent KABELO BORANABI takes a glance at the South Americanís profile and his prospects at his new environment

Zapata played as a goalkeeper for Argentinean second division sides Huracan, Sportivo Italiano, Club Atletico San Miguel and Cipolleti de Negro.

His playing career was cut short in 1995 due to niggling knee injuries. He was just 29 years at the time. He graduated with a football degree from the Argentinean Football Association (AFA) in 1997.  His first professional coaching job was in 2000 when he coached Canada. He went to the United States of America (USA) where he spent nine years as a coach of the Olympic Development Programme between 2001 and 2009.

Zapata is a familiar face in African football. In 2010, he had stints in the Nigerian Premier League as the head coach of Sunshine Stars FC and Rising Stars FC.

In the beginning of the 2011/2012 season, he was appointed head coach of South Africa’s ABSA Premiership side Mpumalanga Black Aces.

He returned to the USA as the Director of Coaching and Players Development for the United States of Youth Soccer Association. He has been in charge of the USA Under 18 national team.

Zapata’s task will be to rebuild the discontented GU team that has not lived up to their 2009/2010 season team. Being a development coach, he will be a revelation to the GU youngsters like Obonye Maome, Karabo Phiri and Mpho Kgaswane who have failed to cement their places in the starting berth this season. Zapata might find it hard to turn the fortunes around this season, but with the relatively young

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squad he will have, he might turn GU into a force to be reckoned with in the future.

But what are his chances of success. Rolo, as he is affectionately known, will have a rather difficult task in impressing the GU’s impatient top brass. He will be Moyagoleele’s fourth coach in just two and half seasons and if results are not coming the Argentinean tactician will find it hard to keep his job. 

Zapata has also spent most of his coaching career with development teams. Zapata’s first task will be to win the faith and belief of the dressing room through senior players to make his job easier.

Having spent most of his coaching stint in North and South America, where the type of football is totally different from the type of football in the country.

The South American style of play is more similar to that of Europe, where the build up is fast and furious, contrary to the little slower build-ups in the beMOBILE Premierships. The Argentinean will need more time to instil his style of football with an impatient management. One will be eager to see how long he will last. Zapata who coached in Nigeria and South Africa despite not enjoying much success in Africa, surely has the experience to take a ‘success-hungry’ team like GU forward. The younger squad at GU will gel well with his type of play as they had shown a lot of power and speed in attack.



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