Temuri Ketsbaia has stood down as coach of Anorthosis Famagusta FC, four months after almost leading the Cypriot club into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.
The 41-year-old former Georgian international wrote himself into Cypriot football folklore when he guided Anorthosis through three qualifying rounds and into the group stage last summer, becoming the first club from the Mediterranean island to do so. Anorthosis subsequently lost just twice in a section featuring FC Internazionale Milano, Werder Bremen and Panathinaikos FC and would have progressed along with the Nerazzurri had they won in Athens on Matchday 6.
Highs in Europe were countered by costly defeats at home, however, including six in matches against title rivals AC Omonia and APOEL FC, who are 13 points clear of third-placed Anorthosis with three rounds to play. "Mr Ketsbaia informed us that he wanted to step down due to personal reasons," said club chairman Chris Georgiades. "We pleaded with him to reconsider but he was adamant. Mr Ketsbaia is a rich part of Anorthosis's 98 years of history and we owe him a lot."
Having played for Anorthosis in the early 1990s, Ketsbaia returned for a second spell in 2004. Midway through the 2003/04 season, he was appointed player-manager and the following year he secured the club's 12th Division A title. He oversaw a Cypriot Cup success in 2006/07 and another league title a year later – going all season unbeaten – but it was his side's heroics last summer which cemented his reputation as an Anorthosis hero.