Stay calm, urges cancer-hit Sevilla boss

SEVILLE • In the second cancer diagnosis to hit Sevilla coaches in just two years, Joaquin Caparros revealed on Sunday that he was suffering from chronic leukaemia.

Speaking after their 2-0 LaLiga victory over Valladolid, he also announced he had yet to undergo any treatment.

However, the 63-year-old, who took over last month after Pablo Machin was sacked, reassured the home fans that the condition was under control before appealing "for everyone to stay calm".

The Spaniard told reporters: "I have caught it early and can live a normal life. I want to enjoy my job and am grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity (to continue coaching)."

Previously Sevilla's sporting director, Caparros is now acting as caretaker coach until the end of the season. His appointment has coincided with an upturn in fortunes, with the team winning four of his six games in charge.

Another former Sevilla coach, Eduardo Berizzo, announced in November 2017 that he was suffering from prostate cancer.

He was sacked a month later following a string of bad results.

The victory over Valladolid moved Sevilla up to fifth in the table after two goals in the final six minutes from Roque Mesa and Munir El Haddadi.

They are now only a point behind surprise package Getafe, who they play on April 21 after a crunch derby at home to Betis on Saturday.

Urging his players to focus on securing the goal of a Champions League spot and not to get distracted by his illness, Caparros said: "That is our objective and we are going to do everything we can to achieve it."

In response to the upsetting news, Caparros received plenty of good wishes from the football fraternity in Spain, with Athletic Bilbao, who he managed from 2007 to 2011, tweeting: "You have all our support. You are a lion and you will come out a winner."

Separately, fourth-placed Getafe kept their own remarkable bid for Champions League qualification on track by edging past Bilbao 1-0 courtesy of Angel Rodriguez Diaz's winner.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'Stay calm, urges cancer-hit Sevilla boss'. Print Edition | Subscribe