Ħamrun Spartans have announced that they have appointed former Lazio player Luciano Zauri as the new coach for the upcoming season.
No details have been given on the length of his contract signed by Zauri who will be filling the void left by Branko Nisevic who was relieved of his duties at the end of the season.
Zauri, who played for Lazio and Sampdoria among others in the Italian Serie A, hang up his boots as a player in 2014.
He then joined Pescara’s youth ranks as a coach, heading up to the Under-19s in 2018. After a stint with the Bologna U19s, he rejoined Pescara, this time as the senior side’s head coach in 2022, managing the team for seven matches.
The former Pescara coach has a big task on his hands to emulate his predecessor as Nisevic led the Spartans to their ninth Premier League title in emphatic fashion, having finished with an impressive 19-point margin over nearest rivals Birkirkara, the biggest gap in the history of the Maltese top flight.
On the other hand, the Spartans, under the charge of Nisevic, have also rewrote the history books in European club competitions as last summer they became the first Maltese team to reach the Play Off round of the UEFA Conference League, only to bow out to Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade.
The Spartans hope that Zauri’s experience in playing high-level football in Italy with Lazio, where he won the Coppa Italia in season 2003-04, will help the team make the next step in this summer’s UEFA club competitions where they will be making a return to the Champions League after an absence of more than 30 years.
Ħamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli has been very clear on his ambitious goal in this year’s UEFA club competitions as he wants the team to reach the group stages of the Conference League.
To this aim, Zauri is expected the opportunity to revamp the squad, bringing in five or six new overseas players.
So far, the Spartans have confirmed Serbian defender Ognjen Bjelicic and Brazilian forward Jonny for the upcoming season.
On the other hand, defender Rodrigo Callegari and forward Jorge Ailton Soares, aka Dodo, will not be staying at the club.
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