Zapata optimistic : Leopards’ coach keen to beef up squad next month ahead of the second leg | The Star, Kenya Skip to main content
May 25, 2018

Zapata optimistic : Leopards’ coach keen to beef up squad next month ahead of the second leg

Newly appointed AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata
Newly appointed AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata

Newly appointed AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata has laid down his intentions of bringing in three new players in the June transfer period.

The Argentine who has been at the helm for the last two weeks has taken a paltry three matches to identity the number of players he wants to recruit in June.

After taking the leadership mantle from Dennis Kitambi on May 1, Zapata is yet to taste victory in the three matches he has overseen and believes bringing in three players would see the club take a positive turn.

In the three duels he has overseen, Leopards lost 5-4 to Gor Mahia before playing Chemelil Sugar and Nakumatt to a barren and 2-2 draw respectively.

The stylish tactician is keen on a proven goal poacher who would assist the over-burdened Ezekiel Odera in getting goals, an offensive midfielder who will create more competition in the star-studded midfield and an experienced defender in the forthcoming transfer window.

Speaking after overseeing a training session at Gikambura Stadium where the senior team trained with the U-20 side, Zapata said he had forwarded his grievances to the Executive Committee for approval before purchasing the three whom he declined to name.

He said: “I am barely two weeks old at the club and I am pleased with the qualities of the players I found here. They are coordinating well and their understanding of the game is good. I want to bring in three players in June with a top quality striker, an attacking midfielder and a defender as my priority. I have no problem with the goal-keeping department as the three custodians Ezekiel Owade, Jairus Adira and Gabriel Andika have shown top class displays.”

The soft-spoken coach further revealed his intentions of roping in outstanding players from the U-20 side to he senior team as a way of creating more competition for starting roles.

He said the move was in line with his short term goal of boosting the confidence of the budding players. “I have a short term mission of working with the junior side as I seek to elevate the outstanding ones to the senior team. This will bring more competition and ensure the future of the club is secure. I am happy the talents in the youthful side is increasingly becoming hard to ignore and I want them to grow professionally.”

While acknowledging that the club has gone seven matches without winning, Zapata promised to turn the fortunes around and get wins which will catapult them from mid-table to title contenders. “I am aware we haven’t won in the last seven matches but I am pleased with the performance of the players. I am confident we will start getting results soon and rise to title contenders. The point difference is not big and I gauged leaders Gor Mahia during our friendly and realiased they are beatable. The Kenyan League has no favourites and we stand a chance of winning.”

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