By Nemanja Bjedov
THE Cyprus Football Association announced appointment of Pambos Christodoulou as the new national team coach whose contract runs for the duration of the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifications and the draw for the competition will be held on 23 February in Nice.
“I want to thank everybody at the Cyprus Football Association who have entrusted me with the honor of being national team coach,” said the 46-year-old Christodoulou who replaced Greek coach Nikos Nioplias who stepped down several months ago after claiming that he was not very optimistic about the future of football in Cyprus due to a fact that not many young Cypriot players get enough playing time in the national championship.
“We will make a new effort ahead of the upcoming qualifying campaign for EURO 2016 and with a lot of hard work; we can lay down the right foundations that will put our national side on the right track and with the best prospects. If we will all work together, we can create a better outlook,” added Christodoulou who led AEL to their first championship title in 44 years in 2012.
Apart from being at the helm of AEL Limassol and guiding them into the UEFA Europa League group stage last season, Christodoulou also coached now second division side Olympiakos Nicosia as well as Anorthosis Ammochostos. However, his coaching career started with his former club Doxa Katokopia where he helped them earn promotion to the top flight.
Christodoulou’s reputation of signing on players from the lower leagues of Portugal followed him at AEL where some of the players he brought in are still in the team’s squad and they continue to perform at the high level until today.
After winning only one game throughout the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifications, against Iceland in September 2012, Cyprus Football Association needed to reshuffle and provide football fans on the island with a glimpse of hope that it is possible to replicate impressive UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying campaign when they managed to beat Republic of Ireland and Wales at home as well as hold mighty Germany to a 1-1 draw.