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Juan Dopazo all smiles as he lands Rangers job

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Juan Dopazo is excited to get back going in a ‘really tough league’ after being announced as the new boss of Smethwick Rangers.

Juan Dopazo

Venezuelan coach Dopazo, who holds a Uefa B Licence and a qualified dentist, comes in after previously managing Shropshire side Wellington Amateurs and helping Boldmere St Michaels to a Walsall Senior Cup triumph.

And he is out to make Smethwick – 14th in the table before last season was deemed null and void due to the Covid-19 outbreak – a competitive force in the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division once again.

They are due to start the campaign against Shifnal Town on September 19, and Dopazo said: “I’m really excited and, hopefully, the team will be stronger because I know they haven’t had the results they wanted in pre-season games.

“We still have a bit of time to get the team together.

“There’s a core of players already at the club, so it’s about assessing those players and seeing where we need to strengthen the team. In terms of which players I’m going to bring in, it’s hard because now a lot of players are already signed for teams.

“We’d to have follow the seven-day rules that are in place but the main thing, basically, is to see the players we’ve got now and then start working on the signings we want.”

Smethwick, over the past few years, have finished in the bottom half of the division. Their best finish of recent times was 12th in 2015/16.

On what the remit is for the upcoming season, Dopazo said: “Obviously, when you start a new season and with a new club, you need to aim as high as you can.

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“It’s a really tough league and there are clubs with good budgets – they are strong sides.

“But our idea is to finish as high as we can and compete in every single match.

“That’s why I took the job, to win matches and move the team as high as possible in the table.”

Now, having learned a lot from those various roles over the years, Dopazo feels ready for the challenge that lies ahead at Smethwick.

“Completely. It’s a good level of football, a competitive league,” he added.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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