- Leaves GU two days before Gaborone Derby
- Signs 6 month deal with Leopards
After flirting with an exit for a year and a half, Rodolfo Zapata has finally left Gaborone United to join Kenyan club AFC Leopards. Zapata tendered his resignation last week Thursday as he accepted a six month deal from the Kenyan club.
Zapata had grown increasingly frustrated by the turmoil at GU, which had started to affect his players as the squad has not been paid three months wages stretching back to last year. The outspoken coach had given hints of the unhappy atmosphere at the club as he stated his concern about the mindset of the players, which had been affected by administration mishaps.
To his credit, the coach stayed through the club’s worst season in recent years and weathered the financial storm for a while, an escape route to one of Kenya’s top clubs proved too good to turn down as Zapata chose Kenya bearing in mind the uncertainty of GU’s situation.
Zapata left GU two days before the Gaborone Derby against Township Rollers, which they eventually lost 3-1 this past weekend. The former Mpumalanga Black Aces coach organised GU to lay an attacking brand of football, the club are the joint top scorers in the league this season and two of their players (Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Tumisang Orebonye) are amongst the top scorers in the league.
AFC Leopards confirmed the appointment of Zapata through Kenyan media outlets on Friday, the Argentine coach will be unveiled by the club next week Tuesday according to reports. Leopards have elected to hire Zapata on a what appears to be a “provisional” six month contract, with the option of a long term renewal if he manages to improve the club’s fortunes.
The Kenyan outfit has adopted an unwanted trigger happy tag in recent seasons due to their chopping and changing of coaches, their unwillingness to give Zapata a long term contract for now is an indication of their conservative approach to giving coaches long term plans.
“We are giving him a six month contract first; he has to convince us that he is the long term solution to our coaching problems. The six months will be used to gauge him as well as see what he has for our team, but we are optimistic. He has enough knowledge of African football, and we hope that will help him a great deal here,” said AFC Leopards secretary Oscar Igaida in an interview with Kenyan media outlet, Sportika.