Official: Fernando Santos named Azerbaijan coach

Former Portugal manager Fernando Santos has was announced as the new coach of the Azerbaijan national team on Wednesday morning.

Santos recently left Turkish side Besiktas after a short stint, but has found work again with his third job since leaving Portugal at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

«During the discussions [about the new coach], we mentioned the need to form a strong, competitive and successful national team, as well as the development of youth football in our country,” read a statement by the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA).

“In this sense, it was decided to appoint Fernando Santos as head coach of the Azerbaijan national team, taking into account his rich experience as one of the best-known specialists in world football, his successes throughout his professional career, including the European championship with the national team Portuguese.

“Taking into account that the process will not be short-lived and will cover a certain period, the Portuguese specialist was set the objective of forming a competitive team and a successful campaign in the qualifying phase of Euro 2028.”

The details of Santos’ contract have not been revealed, but the period indicated during the statement covers the next four years up until Eiro 2028, which will be held across Britain and Republic of Ireland.

After leaving Portugal following the Seleção’s World Cup quarter-final elimination against Morocco in 2022, Santos was hired as Poland manager in January 2023. The veteran coach lasted just six matches in the role, after which he spent just over three months in Turkey with Besiktas before being relieved of his duties.

Azerbaijan have employed a number of foreign managers in the 21st century, including some major footballing names such as Brazil’s Carlos Alberto, Croatian legend Robert Prosinečki and another European Championships winner: Berti Vogts of Germany.

By @SeanGillen9