Cuco Ziganda was officially unveiled as the new Athletic manager last week in a move that didn’t surprise anyone. However, during his debut press conference a lot of questions were asked about the team and who would be on his coaching staff. Names such as Rafael Alkorta and Bittor Alkiza were linked to becoming his assistant coach, but Ziganda stated that he had not even had the time to think about building his staff. On Wednesday, the Club made the official announcement of who would be on the coaching staff.
Joining Ziganda as the assistant coach is Bingen Ansotegi who served under Cuco as an assistant at Bilbao Athletic. Also making the move up from the reserves is Iban Urkiza, who will continue as the physical coach, and Imanol Etxeberria who will continue as the goalkeepers coach. Alberto Iglesias will remain as an assistant, while Xabi Clemente will retain his role as the recovery coach.
Already fans are asking a lot of questions. Many want to know where Carlos Gurpegui will be after serving as an assistant last year under Valverde. According to those close to the club, he will likely become the assistant coach at Bilbao Athletic or CD Basconia, or he may even become the head coach for one of the Lezama youth teams. Additionally, Ziganda’s assistant coach at Bilbao Athletic, Inigo Lizarralde, was not including in his staff for the first team. This has led some to believe that he may be in the running to take over as the manager of Bilbao Athletic, though it looks more likely that Joseba Etxeberria will be promoted to that role.
Cuco Ziganda and his staff will begin preseason training on 3 July. The Lions will play their first game of the season in a Europa League qualifying match on 27 July. Right now the players are enjoying a much needed summer vacation, but the club is hard at work preparing for the summer transfer window to open, as well as scheduling preseason friendlies that will serve to help the squad prepare for the beginning of the season.