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Botswana Football: Can Rodolfo Zapata Pull Gaborone United Out Of The Red?

Last week Gaborone United held an emergency board meeting at which they decided to pursue their interest in coach Rodolfo Zapata.The team’s recent performances and results have not been good enough. Owner and the board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction.



Coach Zapata will need more time to instill his style of football with an impatient management. One will be eager to see how long he will last.His first task will be to win the faith and belief of the dressing room through senior players to make his job easier.The Argentinean is a familiar face in African football. He has a fairly strong managerial record which has included Nigeria and South Africa. 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 Botswana.



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 Botswana beMOBILE Premierships.Zapata has also spent most of his coaching career with development teams. He might find it hard to turn the fortunes around this season, but with the relatively young squad he will have, he might turn Gaborone United into a force to be reckoned with in the future.



He has the experience to take a ‘success-hungry’ team like Gaborone United forward. The younger squad will gel well with his type of play as they had shown a lot of power and speed in attack.  

Being a development coach, he will be a revelation to the Gaborone youngsters like Obonye Maome, Karabo Phiri and Mpho Kgaswane who have failed to cement their places in the starting berth this season.  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.



His task will be to rebuild the discontented Gaborone United team that has not lived up to their 2009/2010 season team.He will be 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. Rodolfo Zapata played as a goalkeeper for Argentinean second division sides Huracan, Sportivo Italiano and Cipolleti de Rio Negro. His playing career was cut short due to niggling knee injuries.



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 in Canada. Then he went to the United States of America (USA), where he spent nine years as a coach of the Olympic Development Program between 2001 and 2009.



In 2010, he had stints in the Nigerian Premier League. In the beginning of the 2011/2012 season, he was appointed head coach of South Africa’s ABSA Premiership side Mpumalanga Black Aces FC.                                                 

In 2012-2015, he returned to the USA as the Director of Coaching and Players Development for the United States of Youth Soccer Association.




Tags:Botswana Football: Can Rodolfo Zapata Pull Gaborone United Out Of The Red?
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