Thursday, February 9, 2023
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Zapata excited to take up Fiji role

Newly appointed Fiji Under 20 Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata has expressed his excitement to guide the Junior Bula Boys at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Indonesia in May-June this year.

The 56-year-old from Bella Vista in Argentina revealed some of his plans for the national camp which is expected to take place in two weeks at Fiji FA’s Academy in Ba.

“It’s an honour for me to be here to share ideas with the coaches to take Fiji Football to the next level,” Zapata said.

“I have seen the highlights of the qualification and the quality players Fiji has, I was positive and that’s the reason why I told the President yes because of the quality players we have.

“Of course, it’s not going to be an easy competition. We need to work in a progressive way to don’t confuse our players but we need to have a clear objective. We need to work hard and we are going to work hard.”

“We have already set the training program, the schedules for friendly games for World Cup with Mexico and local teams as well. I want to expose our boys to all levels. We already have 46 young talents and I want to opportunity to all of them even the under 17 players as well.”

The former USA Olympics Development Program Head Coach also holds a UEFA Pro coaching License said his aim is to include the Argentinian football program in Fiji.

“The under 17 players to go forward because I believe that this is the base of the next World Cup. This team will be the base of the national team.”

“Football career is too short and these boys need to show now where we are and where we want to be.”

“We want to bring the best of Argentinian programs and with Timo Jankowski the best of German programs here and share football ideas.”

“Fiji is well known all over the world because of one sport which is rugby. So why not about football? This is a challenge for me to take Fiji football to the next level and I strongly believe that looking forward to the World Cup, Fiji is going to have good chance to qualify.”

The former Argentinian second-division goalkeeper said he is here to share ideas with players, coaches and technical staff while he strongly believes that Fiji can also qualify for the next World Cup in Canada.

“One team from Oceania that is going to qualify, I strongly believe in us. The last World Cup was a shock to everybody to see we are not small teams everywhere. Argentina won but there were lots of big surprises like Africa and Asia and I feel this is the time to show that Fiji can be at the World Cup.”

“I am here to share ideas with all the coaches. I want to be open to sharing ideas because I believe that local coaches work hard and they know a lot of things.”

“I work with 11 technical systems because I believe in football there are 11 technical systems but all the systems in the game, I need to know the players we have then we work with them.”

“I don’t want to confuse our players so I will work with two or three systems to properly know their game.”

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com
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