There is no place like home for Tony de Nobrega. And the new Vasco da Gama coach feels he has some unfinished business this season when he returns to Parow Park.
De Noberga is back at the National First Division club after a six-month stint as Mark Harrison’s assistant coach at Chippa United during the first half of the previous season. The former Bloemfontein Celtic coach was in charge of Vasco two seasons ago.
He takes over from Keenin Lesch, the club legend who did a honourable job in his first coaching assignment. Lesch will be De Nobrega’s assistant this season.
“It’s great to be back coaching a club that is close to my heart. This is the club I want to coach,” De Nobrega told the Cape Times yesterday. “I feel that I have some unfinished business here.”
De Nobrega is not the only change at the club, after Johannesburg businessman Mario Ferreira became the majority shareholder of Vasco in the off-season. However, brothers Mario and Carlos das Neves and team manager Kenny Gertse still have a small stake in the team.
Vasco went on a magnificent run either side of the Christmas break last season and were genuine title contenders. But, like in so many of their campaigns, the wheels came off in the second half of the season and they ended up missing the playoffs.
However, with a new owner on board, De Nobrega feels they that they can put in a sustained effort to fight for promotion this time around.
“Our new owner has title aspirations and we will be able to compete in the transfer market,” the Vasco coach said.
“We had a lot of youngsters last season and started off well. Vasco always start off well and then fall away after December. The key is to keep that momentum going, because, in this league, there are no prizes for second place.”
De Nobrega says Vasco, like most teams, have had a topsy-turvy time trying to finalise their squad after the PSL’s Board of Governors only recently decided to keep the development rule, which forces NFD teams to field five Under-23s in their starting line-ups.
That meant that Vasco were careful not to bolster their squad with too many experienced players. But they also had to let go of some of their star players from last season, who are not Under-23 anymore.
“We had to be cautious when assembling the squad, because of the uncertainty surrounding the Under-23 rule. But I’m excited about the talent we have at our disposal.”
By John Goliath Cape Times
Follow him on Twitter @JohnGoliath82