San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Fútbol

Former Costa Rica football coach Paulo Wanchope hired as new Saprissa general manager

Three months after resigning from his post as the head coach of Costa Rica’s national men’s football team, Paulo Wanchope will now take the reigns of the country’s most lucrative club team. Saprissa President Juan Carlos Rojas introduced Wanchope at a press conference Wednesday in San José as the new general manager of “El Monstruo Morado.”

Wanchope’s resignation from the national team on Aug. 12 came the day after he got into a fight with a private security guard at a football game in Panama. The incident was caught on video.

The 39-year-old Wanchope said he’s excited to get a new start with Saprissa and turn around the club’s mediocre season.

“First I want to win over the affection of Saprissa fans,” Wanchope said. “A lot has been said, but I know I have the ability to lead.”

As general manger, Wanchope will be assigned the task of finding a full-time coach, as well as building Saprissa’s brand on an international level, according to a press release from the club. Current interim head coach Carlos Watson is expected to be replaced and maintain full-time duties over Saprissa’s minor divisions.

“The priority will be to find a coach soon so that he can begin in January,” Wanchope said. “After that, it’s all about building success. Saprissa needs victories.”

Despite Wanchope’s rocky career as the manager of the national team, in which he never won a game after his interim tag was lifted in January, optimistic minds will always remember him as one of the greatest Costa Rican football players of all time. As a player, Wanchope led “La Sele” to two World Cup appearances and notched 45 goals in 73 matches.

“Wanchope is still one of the biggest symbols of Costa Rican football,” Rojas said.

Saprissa is one of the most decorated clubs in the country’s history, with 31 national championships and three CONCACAF Champions’ Cup titles. But the club has gone through some uncharacteristic struggles this season, currently ranking 6th out of 12 teams in the winter season standings of Costa Rica’s top division.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

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