During his playing days, Sousa was in the Lisboa Rugby Club side that beat Leonessa 25-13 on 10 January, 2004 in the European Shield. The Italians gained their revenge in the return leg, running out 42-18 victors to progress through to the next round.
Thursday night's Challenge Cup debut promises to be altogether tougher, however, for Sousa's side as they have to travel to the re-built Stade Jean Bouin to take on a resurgent Stade Francais Paris side in Pool 5. After that they will play London Irish and I Cavalieri Prato.
It is a tough ask for the Portuguese, but Sousa will at least be taking a squad full of experience with him into the tournament. No 8 Vasco Uva captained Portugal at the 2007 World Cup and has played in 86 Tests to date, while hooker Joao Correia was also in France six years ago and has 72 caps to his name.
Both Uva and Correia have played in Europe before, with Lisboa, while outside-half Pedro Cabral and scrum-half Pedro Leal and wing Goncarlo Foro have also tasted World Cup action on French soil. There are also a further nine internationals in a squad drawn from nine different clubs.
Sousa is well aware of the "big gap" between the French and Portuguese clubs, but described the chance for his players to play in the tournament as a "unique opportunity that could not be wasted".
"We have to be realistic and have a good idea of the difficulties that lie ahead of us. We will have to be objective in terms of performance and not in terms of results.
"Playing in the Amlin Challenge Cup will bring benefits to the game in Portugal in the medium and long term. It will allow us to test players who have not had opportunities at international level to date and make our players grow.
"I know our limitations, because I suffer with them, but the national rugby union have to decide what we want and where we want to go. If we want to keep up with countries like Romania or Russia then we have to play in tournaments like this. If we hadn't got into the Amlin Challenge Cup then the place would probably have been taken by the Russians, who also submitted an application."
Sousa will be without some key players for the opening round match this week because of a clash with the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia.