Five weeks before it begins its Champions League qualifying campaign, Maccabi
Tel Aviv announced on Wednesday that it has agreed a two-year deal with Paulo
Sousa to coach the team.
After leading Maccabi to its first Premier
League championship in 10 years, Spaniard Oscar Garcia announced three weeks ago
that he was leaving the side after a single season due to personal
Numerous names were since linked with the vacated position, but
Maccabi ended the speculation on Wednesday when it signed the 42-year-old
Portuguese coach as Oscar’s successor.
“I want to begin by thanking the
club owner, Mitch Goldhar, his representative Jack Angelides and sports
director, Jordi Cruyff, for showing trust in me and for giving me this
opportunity to become the head coach of this magnificent football club,” Sousa
told the club’s official website.
“Their belief in me, and in my vision
for the team, gives me great heart and motivation for the many challenges we
will face. Maccabi is a club with a strong tradition, passionate support, and I
hope that with everyone working together, we can achieve
Maccabi is looking to reach the Champions League group stage
for the second time in its history, but will have to come through three
qualifying rounds to do so.
Sousa enjoyed an illustrious playing career
at Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Parma,
Panathinaikos and Espanyol, winning the Champions League on two occasions. He
made 51 international appearances for Portugal before having his career cut
short by injury, retiring at the age of 31.
Sousa began his coaching
career with the Portugal national team, working as an assistant to then-coach
Carlos Queiroz before taking his first club role at London side QPR in November
2008. He lasted just five months before being sacked by the club, which claimed
he had divulged sensitive information without permission.
Four years ago
he joined Swansea City, which like QPR was also in the English Championship at
the time, but after one season he left for the opening at Leicester
He was fired after less than three months following a poor start to
In May 2011, he signed with newly-crowned Hungarian champion
Videoton, ending his only full season at the club in the runners-up position
before guiding the team to the Europa League group stage at the start of the
2012/13 campaign. Four months later in January of this year he left the club,
stating personal reasons.
“I am delighted that the next coach of Maccabi
Tel Aviv will be Paulo Sousa,” said Maccabi’s owner, Mitch Goldhar, who met with
Sousa two weeks ago together with Angelides.
“As a coach I believe Paulo
embodies the qualities we strive for at Maccabi Tel Aviv – namely discipline,
work ethic and respect.”