Italians takeover at the helm

New Olhanense coach Italian Cristiano Bacci takes control

Recent changes in the overall control of the Olhanense SAD (limited liability company) have resulted in the departure of manager Jorge Paixão. New coach Italian Cristiano Bacci, 39, and his assistant Fabrizio Piccareta, who worked with Paolo di Canio at Swindon Town and Sunderland, certainly have a tough job on their hands.

Last weekend Olhanense lost 2-1 way to Sporting Lisbon ‘B’ and fans will be keen to see how the new team tackle tomorrow’s (Saturday) crucial home game against Covilhã, kick-off 3pm.

The move adds strength to the rumours that the Olhão-based club will be linked with Italian Serie A side Sampdoria.

Igor Campedelli, who until recently was the main face of the Olhanense SAD, is negotiating the sale of a 35% stake in the club to investors close to Sampdoria.

Two young players from the Genoa club, Martin Simões and Andres Ponce, have already joined Olhanense.

Portuguese clubs are permitted to sign non-EU nationals from South America and Africa, contrary to what happens in several other European countries, and with lower taxation, the mild climate and a Segunda Liga ripe to develop young talent, the Algarve is an attractive proposition.

Sampdoria is keen to follow the route taken by Udinese, which controls, albeit indirectly, Spanish side Granada and English Championship side Watford.

Photo: New Olhanense coach Cristiano Bacci