• Zackhem’s return is the reason for coach’s return
• Zapata sets sights on league and cup double
Following several weeks of uncertainty over his return for the new season, Gaborone United’s Argentine coach Rudolf Zapata has finally resumed his duties, Gazette Sport can reveal. The former Mpumalanga Black Aces coach joined GU midway through last season, after the sacking of Dragojlo Stanojlovic and his technical staff.
However, the arrival of Zapata brought a new lease of life for the team, as he guided his troops to an impressive run of eight wins, one draw and two defeats in his 11 games in charge, finishing the league in the fifth position.
Though as previously revealed by this publication that construction mogul Nicholas Zackhem’s departure as an investor at the club had turned to a financial nightmare for the club, which led to the team failing to afford the coach’s wages, a u-turn in events at the Gaborone side has since changed fortunes for the local giant.
A decision to lease out the team to Zackhem was taken at the club’s Ordinary General Meeting which was held a fortnight ago in Palapye. The decision was said to have been prompted by the club’s high wage bills, with the inclusion of those of the Argentina born gaffer. Despite the deal awaiting a few formalities, the coach has been cleared to return back to duty.
“The coach arrived yesterday (Monday). He landed at 1300hrs local time, the club’s EXCO (Executive Committee) gave him the permission to return, as the club will now be in the hands of Zac (Zackhem),” briefly said a source at the club. Zapata also confirmed his return through several posts on social media.
In an interview, he told this publication that his return to GU was mainly to deliver the beMobile Premiership and Mascom Top 8 in the 2016/17 season. “I believe that my tactics and coaching experience can help GU to win the League and Mascom Cup. I am going back to Botswana to win everything,” said Zapata.
He added that, “I strongly believe in my players. Through hard work, discipline, relentless drills and an inspired tactical game, that GU thrived on last season we can achieve a lot this season,” he added. The Argentinian concluded that despite losing Namibian forward Benson Shilongo who was prolific in front of goal for the ‘Money Machine’, the team is ready to soldier on with its available players.
“Coaches should adapt to the players that the team has. One of my strengths is to put the right player in the right position. Every player is different, and to merely apply a formula is not fair to those players. Some tactics and drills are a necessity for some of them, and they may not be appropriate for others,” he ended.