• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli appoint Calzona

Francesco-Calzona

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen is set to work with the third manager this season as Napoli confirmed the appointment of Francesco Calzona as the new coach until the end of the 2023/24 season.

Calzona, the coach of Slovakia and former assistant of Maurizio Sarri replaces embattled manager Walter Mazzarri who was sacked on Monday night.

“Walter Mazzarri is a friend of the De Laurentiis family and especially a friend of Napoli, and it’s always painful to fire a friend,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced on Monday via Sky Sport.

“I thanked him because he was very willing to come to our aid in a time of difficulty, but we must also consider that at Napoli and to Napoli’s fans we must always be able to give something more and now we try to give it with Calzona who has worked first with Sarri and then with Spalletti and knows 80% of our players.”

Napoli won Serie A for the third time in their history last season and the first time since 1990, but their defence of the title has been a disaster.

The decision comes just two days before Napoli take on Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg game at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Wednesday.

Calzona, 55, will also remain in charge of Slovakia and will lead them into the European Championship in Germany.

He becomes Napoli’s third different coach of a chaotic campaign in which they have failed to hit the highs of last year’s title triumph under Luciano Spalletti.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Genoa spelled the end for Mazzarri, who replaced Rudi Garcia in November having previously coached the club between 2009 and 2013.

De Laurentiis initially planned to wait until the summer to find a long-term replacement for Mazzarri, but continued poor results have prompted him to make a change ahead of Napoli’s Champions League knockout clash with Barcelona.

Calzona becomes Napoli’s third different coach this season since Luciano Spalletti left.

Calzona, who was part of Spalletti’s coaching staff at Napoli before taking the Slovakia job in 2022, will take over the Napoli training session on Tuesday, ahead of their Champions League clash with Barcelona the day after.