Montego Bay United seek fast start with new Argentine coach

1 week ago 14

MONTEGO BAY United FC (MBU) will have Argentinian Rodolfo Zapata serving as head coach for the 2024-2025 Jamaica Premier League.

MBU were brought under new ownership in the Fall of 2023 and have been undergoing a transformation with renewed investment in resources, players and management.

According to a release from the club, “the new coach will further strengthen the club’s capabilities as the team vies to win the JPL within the next two years.”

Zapata is replacing Brazilian, Neider Dos Santos, who was let go at the end of last season.

Dos Santos was surprised by the sacking since MBU had gone unbeaten in their last 10 matches, missing the playoffs on goal difference.

However, according to the release announcing the coach’s signing, the club wants to start quickly.

“This year, MBU are determined not to lose any steam at the start of the new season to ensure their rightful place in the playoffs and contesting the top positions in the rankings.”

The club’s chairman, Yoni Epstein, believes Zapata can bring this fast start.

“Coach Zapata brings extensive football and coaching experience to the team. He has worked across Africa, Latin America and the US with a keen ability to adapt training programmes to the culture of the country,” said Epstein.

“We are looking forward to capitalising on his commitment to continuity, consistency and ambition fuelled by a winning mindset.”

Zapata began his career as a professional football player in Argentina before getting a coaching degree and moving to North America where he worked for the USA Olympic Development Program, coaching and identifying young talent for the US national team.

He has been a head coach for some of the biggest clubs in South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda, as well as the Fiji U20 national team. He is also the founder of the Rolo Zapata Academy for boys and girls in Argentina.

“To build a winning team, you must first establish a culture of winning. I want to do something big here, and this will take hard work. I’m here to work hard, not waste my time,” said Zapata.

“This season we are going to start strong and finish strong. I’m here to take MBU to the next level and eventually to CONCACAF,” he said.

MBU’s players are eager to jump back into training and preparations with their new coach, who arrived in Jamaica on July 1.

MBU captain Owayne Gordon says the team has the same mindset as its new coach.

“The team is very focused and ready to put in the work to achieve the vision shared by the players, coaches and club directors,” he said.

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