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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2015 29 SPORT Karagounis coming to Melbourne Former Greek national team great Giorgos Karagounis booked to visit Melbourne in April Euro 2004 king and Greek national team favourite, Giorgos Karagounis will be visiting Melbourne in April for a special philanthropic night. Organised by the biggest Greek-sponsored clubs in Melbourne, the night will be dedicated to fundraising for the Royal Children’s Hospital and Greek Australian organisations. Karagounis is tipped to stay in Australia for 10 days while taking in the best of what the football and Greek Australian community has to offer. Also booked for the event is Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou and Victorian Sports Minister John Eren. The event is an initiative by NPL teams South Melbourne, Oakleigh Cannons, FFV’s president talks NPL, FFA Cup FFV’s president Nick Monteleone sits down with Neos Kosmos for a oneon-one on the NPL season and the FFA Cup Giorgos Karagounis now works behind the scenes in the Greek national team. PHOTO: AP/ANTONIO CALANNI. Heidelberg United, Northcote City, and various lower league teams such as South Springvale (Aris), Waverley Wanderers (AEK), Kingston City, Mill Park, Clifton Hill and the Panathinaikos fan club of Melbourne. For more information about the event, call Kostas Pateraki on 0411 888 443. AFL boss hopeful of Essendon saga end Gillon McLachlan wants to see the end of the supplements saga by start of the 2015 AFL season AFL boss Gillon McLachlan is hoping to see the end of Essendon’s long-running supplements saga by the beginning of the 2015 AFL season. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s (ASADA) case against the Bombers officially closed with oral submissions to the AFL antidoping tribunal on Monday. ASADA’s counsel, Malcolm Holmes QC, completed his case against the 34 current and former Essendon players, as well as sports scientist Stephen Dank. Lawyers representing the players made their final oral submissions on Tuesday, bringing the tribunal proceedings to a close. Then the tribunal, chaired by former County Court judge David Jones, will start its deliberations, and while there is AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. PHOTO: AAP/JULIAN SMITH. no timeframe on the tribunal verdict, it is widely expected within a month. And McLachlan is hopeful that will be the end of the saga, which has dogged the sport for the past two seasons. “We’ve all been praying and hoping for a speedy conclusion,” McLachlan said. “We’ve got a timetable established now that it’ll be somewhere in the secondhalf of March. But ASADA’s website notes that once the tribunal verdict is handed down, there is scope for further appeal. McLachlan’s comments come a day after the AFL commission granted Essendon the ability to top up its playing list. 1. How did you see the NPL in 2014 and were you happy in its first year? Given the short time frame it was an outstanding success. The average age of players decreased significantly, whilst maintaining and increasing the quality of the football. There was stability at coaching levels with many clubs supporting and helping the development of their coaches. The media coverage through FFVTV and the use of social media was first class and well received. The NPL goals were about building clubs and not just male teams. For the first time in the history of football in Victoria you cannot compete in the top tier unless you have the full complement of juniors from Under 12s to Under 18s, proving a complete pathway at each club. The NPL embraced Victoria and travelling around the state you realise how much the state government and councils have invested in topclass facilities. 2. What do you expect in year two of the NPL ? The NPL is a journey that Bentleigh Greens enjoyed a lot of publicity thanks to the FFA Cup. will see the bar raised every year. We need stability and continued improvement on and off the field. We need to build on the excitement of the Asian Cup by having increased investment in the game by clubs, FFV and FFA in attracting commercial sponsors and greater media coverage. We need clubs to continue to support the development of coaches who are the football educators of the next generation. Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has shown that Australia can produce world class coaches. 3. A lot of clubs are excited about the FFA Cup this year after its success last season. How do you see it? It is particularly rewarding for me and the FFV. We have lobbied the FFA for a number of years. Seeing the benefits of connecting all levels of the game from amateur clubs to semi-professionals and the A league. FFV management worked extremely hard with clubs to ensure that games in Victoria were of the highest standard. The coverage in the Herald Sun and The Age was terrific, ABC radio and the commercial TV interest was unprecedented. Watching Foxtel broadcast the Bentleigh Greens games and knowing that it was being broadcast across Australia was something to behold. As was the 3XY commentators perched on scaffolding broadcasting and sharing the excitement with over 3,000 spectators on a beautiful Melbourne evening. The publicity for football and everyone at Bentleigh Greens including players, coaching staff, administrators and volunteers was well deserved. I hope that greater sponsorship will flow to Bentleigh Greens as their major sponsor Zaparas Lawyers are now better known than Slater and Gordon. My particular highlight was watching South Springvale play St Albans at Olympic Village in the Docherty Cup. The game went to extra time and penalties with the South keeper saving a penalty and then taking the next one to win the game with supporters singing to midnight. Only football can produce such magic. On a final note, in my view the FFA should consider the winner of the FFA Cup being allocated a Asian Champions League place as a just reward. Perth to host Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier The first home qualifier will take place in either June or September this year The Socceroos’ bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia begins this year, and Perth’s nib Stadium has been chosen as the location for the first home game. FFA chief executive David Gallop is confident more than 20,000 fans will pack out nib Stadium when the Socceroos come to Perth, but he says it’s now up to the West Australian public to show the city de- serves more games. “Every time we play it’s an opportunity for people to vote with their feet by coming out,” Gallop said on Monday. “These opportunities don’t come around very often. “This game means something - it’s a genuine qualification game, so I would expect fans would want to get out and watch the Socceroos.” It is expected the first home qualifier will take place in either June or September 2015, but the date and opponent will be confirmed during the firstround draw in April. The first round of the 2018 The Socceroos will know who they will face in the qualifiers in April. World Cup qualifiers comprises 40 Asian Football Confederation teams split up into eight groups. The winners of all eight groups and the four best runners up will then progress to the final stage of qualifying, which will see the 12 nations drawn into two groups of six.
14 February 2015
28 February 2015