Iraklis coach departs post at strugglingThessaloniki club, despite the bond he feels

Outgoing Iraklis coach Savvas Koffidis, who led the Thessaloniki soccer club to one of the Greek soccer league’s leading spots last season and a UEFA Cup berth but has since seen his team sink to the domestic competition’s very bottom this season, told a news conference yesterday that he should have resigned last summer. Koffidis, a former star player at the club, one of Thessaloniki’s two biggest, was alluding to the administration’s failure to bolster Iraklis’s roster after it sold a couple of key players last summer. Opting for a graceful departure from the club he feels close to, Koffidis, who looked tired and obviously affected by his decision to go, refrained from elaborating. Although he announced his resignation earlier this week – it was initially rejected – Koffidis disclosed yesterday that he had made up his mind to go after Iraklis’s loss against Panathinaikos a couple of weeks ago. The names of three candidates for the job opening at Iraklis have already surfaced. Yiannis Mantzourakis, who was recently sacked from Xanthi following the club’s plight after an impressive previous season, is one possibility. Cyprus coach Angelos Anastassiades, a former coach at crosstown archrival PAOK – and a self-confessed fan of the Thessaloniki club – has also been mentioned. But, due to the rivalry, his selection would probably not be a popular choice among Iraklis fans. Moreover, Anastassiades is committed to a contract with the Cypriot national team. Romanian Ilie Dumitrescu, who recently resigned from PAOK, seems to be the other possibility at this stage. Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that Augusto Inacio is leaving Portuguese Premier League club Beira Mar to coach Ionikos. Inacio, who steered Sporting to their first Portuguese title in 18 years in 2000, has traveled to Greece to discuss the fine details of his contract. Beira Mar are in the relegation zone in Portugal’s top league with six points from nine games.

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