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Kitambi to help Zapata pick local assistant

AFC Leopards’ Dennis Kitambi will help new head coach Zapata pick a local assistant coach. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18- Before he departs for his Bangladesh sojourn, AFC Leopards interim coach Dennis Kitambi will assist incoming boss Rodolfo Zapata in picking his assistant coach with the Argentine expected in the country this week.

AFC settled on Zapata after combing through over 20 CVs and according to Chairman Dan Mule, they have faith that the South American’s experience in the continent will be vital in assisting the team win the Kenyan Premier League title for the first time in 20 years.

“He has worked in Nigeria, South Africa and Botswana and we were convinced that having been in the continent for so long, he has enough experience. We have carefully examined his CV and we believe his credentials are good enough,” AFC leopards boss Dan Mule told Capital Sport.

“When he arrives later this week we will have a meeting with him where we will lay out our plans and ambitions as a club and outline his targets. He will have time with Kitambi and learn a few things as a club and also get advise on who best to pick as assistant coach,” Mule further stated.

Zapata will be AFC’s 14th coach in four years but Mule hopes that his arrival will reduce the huge turnover of coaches.

Kitambi is set to leave the club on May 8 heading to Bangladesh to undertake coaching course as well as work as Stewart Hall’s assistant at Saif Sporting Club.

“Kitambi has done really well for us and we appreciate his role. He stepped in at a crucial time and helped us stabilize the club,” Mule said, paying tribute to the Tanzanian.

AFC are currently third in the Kenyan Premier League standings with 18 points, five off leaders Mathare United but with one match at hand.

The 51-year old Zapata is currently coaching Botswana top flight side Gaborone United who are placed fifth in their league.

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Majority of his experience has been in the United States where he has worked with the United States Youth Soccer Academy as well as the Alberta Soccer Association in Canada.

In Africa, he first worked in Nigeria where he coached Sunshine FC in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) in 2010 helping them to qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup in 2011.

He then moved on to South Africa for the 2011 and 2012 seasons with Mpumalanga Black Aces. Zapata joined Gaborone in 2016 after a stint in the USA where he has worked to date.

Zapata started out as a player in the Argentinian 2nd division. He played as goalkeeper in Huracan, Sportivo Italiano, Racing de Olavarría, Club Atlético San Miguel and Cipolletti de Rio Negro.

Due to consecutive knee injuries, Zapata retired from playing and he embarked on a managerial career.

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