College Europa have parted company with their head coach, Juan Luis Perez Herrera. Having recently guided the ‘Dolphins’ to the Europa League thanks to their Rock Cup final appearance against Lincoln, it could have been assumed that his job was safe.
Perez Herrera took over in March 2014 after the departure of Manuel Sanchez Nuñez from the College dugout. When Perez Herrera took over, College had amassed 12 points from their opening 7 games of the league campaign, only 4 points behind then leaders Lynx FC at the half way stage. The decision to sack Sanchez Nuñez appeared questionable at the time solely based on results.
However, Perez Herrera’s record in the league was worse than his predecessor as he was only able to achieve 7 points from their 7 games in 2014 leading to a 4th place finish ahead of Glacis United only by virtue of a slightly better head to head record.
Whilst College were solid and harder to break down under Sanchez Nuñez, under Perez Herrera, the players seemed to be set free from their shackles and they were allowed to express themselves more on the pitch. This reflected on their goal tally under both managers:
NB: Sanchez Nuñez’s last game in charge was a 9-1 win over 2nd Division side Boca Juniors
Perez Herrera’s main objective was to qualify for one of next season’s European competitions. As Lincoln raced away to claim their 12th consecutive league title and thus confirming their place in next season’s Champions League, the final remaining European qualifying spot would go to the winner’s of the Rock Cup. It was in the Rock Cup where Perez Herrera’s men flourished. In his first game as manager, he handled the pressure of European qualification and beat Glacis United 4-2 in the quarter finals.
College Europa then battled against Manchester 62 in the semi final. They defeated the odds with 10 men and an injured Joseph Chipol to beat the Red Devils 4-2 on penalties to reach the final. College went on to lose the final 1-0 against Lincoln thanks to a Liam Clarke injury time winner. What ensued was a conflict in the GFA board room as to who had actually qualified for the Europa League, the runner up in the cup or the runner up in the league. The verdict was delivered 4 days later in favour of College Europa.
Perez Herrera had already started making plans for the forthcoming Europa League campaign in July after being entrusted with control over 1st team matters early last week. However, an emergency meeting of the College Europa board a few days later resulted in the decision to sack the manager.
Speaking to GibFootballTalk, Juan Luis Perez Herrera said he had
not yet received a reason as to his dismissal and was still awaiting an official response from the club on this regard.
College managers this season have been very keen on seeing all aspects of the club flourish especially their youth teams, and Perez Herrera was very proud of the success achieved by the club’s youngsters this season. He went on to add
I feel the decision taken by the board is an injustice. I have worked very hard these past few months to achieve the goals that were demanded from me. I have also had no problems with anyone at the club, a club which has a real family atmosphere.
Perez Herrera posted this on his Facebook account yesterday afternoon:
Earlier in the week, senior club officials announced that they had parted company with College Europa. Posting in one of College Europa’s social media outlets, Jonathan Da Costa commented
Due to great differences with College Europa FC board of directors as from now me Jonathan Da Costa, Malcolm Martin and Kevin Payas will resign from our current position in College Europa FC. We will no longer belong to this club which we formed and we will no longer take any decisions dealing with this club. We think things have not been dealt with clearly with us and work has been done without consulting us in very important football matters.
Only days after this was posted the 3 reversed their decision and were back with the club. Two days later, the announcement of the sacking of Perez Herrera was making rounds in social media.
College Europa FC have yet to make any official statement regarding the departure of Perez Herrera which can only fuel further speculation as to what has happened behind the scenes. It is rumoured that the club are looking for a high profile appointment for the manager’s role.