Who is new AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco Martin who has history with Real Madrid?

Pablo Franco Martin is the new coach of AmaZulu. Photo: Thabang Lepule/BackpagePix

Pablo Franco Martin is the new coach of AmaZulu. Photo: Thabang Lepule/BackpagePix

Published Jun 21, 2023


Cape Town - AmaZulu unveiled former Real Madrid assistant coach Pablo Franco Martin as their new head coach on Tuesday.

Since taking over the club in 2020, Usuthu owner Sandile Zungu has repeatedly emphasized that he wants the club to become regular top four finishers in South Africa and to challenge for major trophies on offer. The 43-year-old will be tasked to help win AmaZulu a first major trophy since it claimed the Coca-Cola Cup in 1992.

Martin becomes the fourth full-time head coach to be appointed under Zungu’s ownership, following in the footsteps of Benni McCarthy, Brandon Truter and Romain Folz.

Time will tell whether he will succeed. Franco’s managerial career so far has not really been noteworthy but AmaZulu will hope to benefit from the experience he gained while working in the La Liga with Real Madrid and Getafe as well as from his UEFA Pro Licence. It must also be noted that he is not known for staying at clubs for the long-term, having been involved with no less than five clubs over the last five years.

— AmaZulu FC (@AmaZuluFootball) June 20, 2023

AmaZulu also becomes the 14th coaching assignment of Martin since he started his professional managerial career as an assistant at Spanish lower league side Coria CF in 2008. He spent time with Madrid, serving in the club’s technical team during the ill-fated spell of Julen Lopetegui between July-November 2018.

Martin most recently led Tanzanian club Simba SC, leading them to a second place finish in their league. He also led Simba to the quarter-finals of last season’s CAF Confederation Cup where they were eliminated by Orlando Pirates on penalties.

His big-break in coaching came during the 2014/15 season when he got a chance to coach the first-team of La Liga club Getafe following the resignation of Quique Sanchez Flores.

AmaZulu will hope that Martin can emulate Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro in silencing his doubters. Riveiro was appointed by the Sea Robbers at the start of the past season as an unknown figure in South African football. He ended up leading his club to the Nedbank Cup and MTN 8 trophy double.

However, Martin arguably faces a more challenging situation than Riveiro. He is tasked to gain success with a club which has not won a single major trophy in the modern era. He will also have to do a rebuilding of the club following a frustrating past season in which it ended the league in 12th position.