All change for Estoril as Couceiro arrives

Group stage entrants Estoril Praia have appointed the well-travelled José Couceiro as coach, the 51-year-old immediately revamping his squad with a raft of signings.

José Couceiro previously led Lokomotiv in the UEFA Europa League group stage
José Couceiro previously led Lokomotiv in the UEFA Europa League group stage ©Getty Images

Estoril Praia will go into their second consecutive UEFA Europa League group stage campaign with a new coach and nine new players after appointing José Couceiro and announcing a raft of signings.

Former FC Alverca, FC Porto, CF Os Belenenses, Portugal Under-21, FBK Kaunas, Lithuania, Gaziantepspor and FC Lokomotiv Moskva coach Couceiro, 51, has signed a two-year contract after leaving Vitória FC to replace Sporting Clube de Portugal-bound Marco Silva at Estoril.

With him he brings Polish goalkeeper Paweł Kieszek, Brazilian duo Fernandinho and Diego Carlos, Cape Verde forward Kuca, Uganda left-back Alex Kakuba, midfielders Afonso Taira and Anderson Esiti plus, promoted from the youth team, keeper Rúben Dionísio and Diogo Baltazar.

Taking over a team that last season secured a club-record 54 Portuguese Liga points to equal their best finish of fourth, Couceiro said: "I was fascinated with the project, its structure and organisation. We know it will be very difficult to repeat last season but our aim is to consolidate a process that started two years ago. I am delighted to be here and it is an honour to have been chosen."

Kieszek, 30, was in the FC Porto squad that won the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, Liga and Portuguese Cup. On a two-year deal, Kieszek said: "I'm very happy to be part of Estoril's project. I believe Estoril can have a good season."

Diego Carlos arrives from Madureira EC and Fernandinho from CR Flamengo while Kuca moves from second-tier GD Chaves on a four-year contract. Kakuba, 23, steps up a division from SC Covilhã and has signed for three years. Taira was previously at Atlético Clube de Portugal and Esiti has switched from Leixões SC.