Portugal mourns former coach Fernando Cabrita

Former Portugal coach Fernando Cabrita, who took his country to the semi-finals of the 1984 UEFA European Championship, has passed away aged 91.

Former Portugal coach Fernando Cabrita
Former Portugal coach Fernando Cabrita ©Lusa

Former Portugal forward and later coach Fernando Cabrita has passed away at the age of 91.

A Lagoa native born on 1 May 1923, Cabrita started his playing career as an attacker with SC Olhanense before joining Angers SCO in France. He returned to his homeland with SC Covilhã and Portimonense SC, and as a Portuguese international scored one goal in seven appearances for his country.

Cabrita went into coaching after hanging up his boots, filling the role of reserve coach, assistant coach and head coach during various stints at SL Benfica – leading the Eagles to the Portuguese title in 1968. He was at the helm of several other Portuguese sides, as well as having a spell in charge of Moroccan club Raja Casablanca.

Cabrita's most notable time in the dugout came with Portugal, whom he guided to the semi-finals of the 1984 UEFA European Championship. They were beaten by eventual winners France – captained by now UEFA President Michel Platini – in the last four, in one of the most memorable matches in the competition's history. Cabrita oversaw nine games, registering five wins, two draws and two losses.

Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) vice-president Humberto Coelho said: "He was one of the nicest people I've met in football. He was an excellent professional, in terms of his mangerial ability and his personal integrity. He helped me develop a lot in my own career, and more than a coach he was a teacher. Portuguese football is poorer without him."

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