UEFA Futsal Cup holders SL Benfica and national champions Sporting Clube de Portugal have both appointed new coaches ahead of their 2010/11 European campaigns.
Benfica, who lifted the trophy in Lisbon in April, have replaced André Lima with Paulo Fernandes – the coach that led Sporting to victory against the Eagles in the Portuguese league play-off final last month. Meanwhile, Sporting have turned to former Portugal coach Orlando Duarte, in charge when they reached the UEFA European Futsal Championship final in January.
Fernandes, 45, had spent the last 15 years at Sporting, the last six as head coach, before stepping down last month. With his new side given a bye to the UEFA Futsal Cup elite round in November, Fernandes will no longer be able to call on the services of the Nagoya Oceans-bound Ricardinho but hás signed Portuguese international goalkeeper Vítor Hugo from Fundação Jorge Antunes while captain Pedro Costa, Gonçalo Alves, Bebé and Arnaldo Pereira have extended their Benfica contracts.
"It's a landmark in a career to be Benfica's coach," said Fernandes. "
I have left the Portuguese champions for the European champions so I think it's a significant step in my coaching career. I have come here to increase the club's greatness. One of my goals is to reach the [UEFA Futsal Cup] finals and win it."
Duarte, whose Sporting team begin their European campaign in late September in main round Group 1 against hosts Slov-Matic Bratislava, Slovenia's FC Kobarid and one side to be decided, left the Portugal set-up in May to return to the club he left for that job in 2000. The 53-year-old has signed a two-season contract with the option for a further 12 months.
I am happy that I left Sporting as champions and return with the club also champions," Duarte said. "It is a privilege to work here, where I find people with a passion for futsal and its development. I like to be motivated and Sporting give me that. My goal is to win all four competitions this term."
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