Europa goalkeeper coach and former captain departs club during period of changes
Javi Munoz, former captain and goalkeeper of Europa FC, who led the club to a historic league and cup double and was later to become their player/goalkeeper coach has departed the club. This was confirmed by the former player/coach who now describes himself as free agent and hopes to stay within Gibraltar football.
The former player/coach, whilst not wishing to enter into detail explained that his departure came after his contract had come to an end and “no agreement” had been reached. Indicating that he had expected to stay at the club for longer initially. He described it as a “surprise” that his departure had not yet been announced by the club after the years of service he had provided.
Munoz’s departure is understood to have taken place at the same time as Europa entered a phase of surprise changes which saw Rafa Escobar depart the club and replaced by Moisés García Fernández “Arteaga”. On the same week Europa also announced its new Technical Director, Juan Carlos Capote Gómez previously from UD San Pedro, Alcalá Atlético and having played for a host of clubs including Algeciras CF.
Gomez replaces David Thompson, the former Liverpool player who took over as Sporting Technical Director last summer. His departure, in the same way as Munoz’s departure received a low profile. The former Liverpool player is understood to have left the club earlier this year alongside Eddie Yome who also stepped down from his role as CEO after taking over the role last summer when he moved into the executive role from having been the Technical Director himself.
The dramatic changes within Europa come at a time when the club is understood to have already reduced player wages by some 30% last summer as it tightened its budgets. With the club now looking certain to once again miss their chance of Champions League football, facing the prospect of being pushed out of the chase if Lincoln Red Imps produce two more victories in their last four matches, Europa also face the prospect of having to up its stakes in order to stop what some expect could be the migration of some of its key players to other national league clubs.
The recent changes within the club has seen a number of key players already reported to have entered discussions with rival clubs with at least two players understood to have entered pre-signing agreements as rival clubs target players.
Europa had under Rafa Escobar continued on its policy which led to their first title of trying to maintain at least 70% of its squad intact from one season on to the next.
With the club now facing changes at the top and rival clubs targeting players this summer the club face the prospect of having to move away from such a policy as the new head coach builds his squad for European club competition and next season’s campaign.
Europa will be looking at playing in the Europa Conference League needing just the one point to fully secure their place within the top three.