By Andreas Vou
APOEL have parted ways with Giorgos Donis under a mutual agreement, with the Cypriot champions now actively seeking a replacement for the Greek manager, with one of Jose Mourinho’s former assistants currently the front-runner.
Both the club and Donis arrived at the decision on Tuesday after the team’s poor run of recent results which saw them win just two of their last ten matches in all competitions.
The 45-year-old took over at APOEL last October and the team’s fortunes quickly changed under his guidesmanship, as they ended up winning the league and cup double as well as achieving the club’s main goal of reaching the Champions League group stages.
Things have not gone quite so smoothly this campaign after they ended up losing five of their six Champions League group games and their recent run of poor form has seen Apollon catch them at the top of the Cypriot first division table.
Donis has already been linked with the Greek national team post which remains vacant since the sacking of Claudio Ranieri back in November.
“At this moment I want us to relax, calm down and rest. When we return to Greece, we will see the rest but, for now, there is no such thought,” said Donis.
“From here on, APOEL will have a supporter which they did not have (previously). I will always be a fan of this team. That’s football. Partnerships at some point come to an end. The best solution at this moment was the termination of cooperation with APOEL.”
The man who APOEL are in negotiations with to succeed Donis is Jose Morais. The 49-year-old was an assistant to Mourinho at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid before taking over as the manager of Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia last summer.
Despite an extremely strong start to the campaign where he guided the team to the Saudi Super Cup and winning six of his first seven games, Morais and the club decided to part ways in October.
Former Anorthosis manager Timour Ketsbaia has also been rumoured to be among the candidates by the local press. Ketsbaia is said to be attracting interest from a number of other teams and therefore APOEL would have plenty of catching up to do in the negotiation side of things.
Still, the indications are that Morais will take over the reins at Archangelos as the Portuguese coach arrived on the island on Thursday morning to discuss the position with the club.