James Rowe takes a look at Mario Been’s managerial career so far and offers his opinion on the former Feyenoord coach being appointed as the new APOEL Nicosia boss.

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When I first heard that Mario Been will take up his first managerial post since leaving Belgian side Genk in 2014, my first thought was that he has the chance to achieve redemption in his career after three years away from the limelight.

After a modest playing career as a midfielder which saw him make 137 appearances for Feyenoord as well as 2 years with Italian outfit Pisa, and one year with Tirol Innsbruck in Austria, he finished his career in his hometown of Rotterdam with Excelsior Rotterdam where he would go on to start his managerial career.

He got Excelsior Rotterdam promoted to the Eredivisie in season 2005 / 2006 playing good solid football and was lauded for the achievement especially with the resources that Excelsior Rotterdam had at the time.

A natural step up seemed the order of the day and NEC Nijmegen came calling. He led them to a 10th place finish in his first season however the first half of his second season saw them sitting bottom of the Eredivisie at the turn of the new year. NEC then went on a remarkable run which saw them eventually finished 8th and then qualify via the European play-offs for the UEFA Cup.

NEC in Europe, who would have thought it?They went on to beat Spartak Moscow 2-1 in Russia and Italian side Udinese 2-0 which saw them qualify for the next round. In the last 32, they would meet Hamburger SV managed then by Martin Jol they lost 4-0 on aggregate. Considering how far NEC Nijmegen had come in a short space of time Mario Been’s achievements did not go unnoticed and he left NEC Nijmegen to join the club where he played 6 years of his career. Feyenoord.

Upon becoming manager of Feyenoord in the summer of 2009, his squad included many experienced players such as Roy Makaay, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Denny Landzaat as well as a young squad at his disposal. He led them to 4th in the Eredivisie in his first season in Rotterdam.

Then came the darkest day in Mario Been’s career and perhaps in Feyenoord’s history, a 10-0 away defeat to PSV Eindhoven in October 2010 which was the biggest defeat in the club’s history. Things then started to unravel very quickly at the club in terms of form and unity, which saw him eventually leave the club at the end of that season citing a lack of confidence and trust from his players.

He moved on to Belgian side Genk becoming their manager in 2011. He took charge of a Champions League game where they drew 0-0 with Valencia CF and earned their first point in Europe’s premier cup competition. He also achieved success obtaining silverware winning the Belgian Cup in 2013 defeating Cercle Brugge 2-0 it the final. It remains Mario Been’s only trophy of his managerial career. He was sacked in February 2014 and hasn’t taken charge of a club since.

Cyprus is the next destination for Been and he takes charge of the most successful club in the country, APOEL Nicosia. He is bound to be aware of the responsibility such a position carries. It offers Been another chance to rekindle the spark in his career that has seen him become so loved and respected as a manager by fans in Rotterdam with Excelsior, Nijmegen and Genk.

James Rowe (696 Posts)