Guillermo Hamdan Zaragoza, a 29-year-old native of Coronado, has dedicated his life to football. He is a first class coach and fitness trainer who is currently the head coach of the West African Football Academy (WAFA) in the Ghana Premier League.
Guillermo, or Guille as his friends call him, grew up in Coronado and attended Village Elementary, Coronado Middle School, and Coronado High School through 11th grade. At this point he moved to Europe and his football world tour began. He has lived in USA, Mexico, Italy, Qatar, Spain and now Ghana. His resume as a player, nutritionist, educator and coach is extensive. He is one of the few leaders to be internationally recognized by FIFA as a UEFA PRO football coach, the highest possible qualification in the world of football. He completed his academic education in Europe alongside former players of the Mexico national football team such as Luis Ernesto Pérez, Israel Castro and Aarón Galindo.
Zaragoza shared some of the cultural differences between coaching in Spain, the Middle East and Africa. There is much less infrastructure in Ghana to support a professional league. There are many challenges to ensure the young men have optimal conditions to perform. Diet, or lack of it, is a big factor. Tropical diseases such as malaria or yellow fever pose a real threat to everyone because it is difficult to ensure that drinking water is not contaminated. Another big problem is the biological age of the players. Most of them do not know exactly how old they are since there is no registration when someone is born. It’s a big challenge for this new coach in Africa, but a Guillermo is enjoying it very much.
Guillermo’s family moved to Coronado before he was born and their home is in the Cays in Green Turtle. He is close friends with Asante Sefa-Boakye (another Coronado Cays resident) who pioneered the very first water polo teams in Ghana. Coronado Football Club coach Jerry Ruiz is another good friend. Jerry and Guille meet up whenever he’s in town to share their recent football experiences and how they can take Coronado’s club forward. Zaragoza’s goal is to one day return to Coronado to apply everything he’s learned to grow Coronado’s football program. For now, he’s using his expertise to make a difference among the young athletes of the Ghana Football Association.