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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2015 29 SPORT Darwin Olympic, Hellenic AFC draw for FFA Cup Darwin Olympic will play Uni Azzuri, while Hellenic AFC will take on Booraloola FC in the Territory’s knockout games for FFA Cup qualification Greek-sponsored club Darwin Olympic will play Uni Azzuri on March 28, one of the first Hellenic clubs of the region to vie for FFA Cup qualification. This is the first year the Northern Territory will join the nation-wide Cup, and with a strong Greek population will include a number of Greek clubs. Hellenic AFC will take on 2014 Cyclones Cup champions Booraloola FC in round two on April 22 after a bye, while Michael Gerakios' Port Dawin FC have been drawn last and will take on Australian Defence force team 1st Brigade. Both Darwin Olympic and Hellenic AFC have a long and established history in Darwin, cultivating the sport in the Territory. Hellenic was established in 1958, while Olympic came into its own in 1967 creating a healthy Greek presence. The clubs were founded by Greek immigrants new to Australia who loved football and were looking for a means to get together, socialise and integrate into the community. NT Football has been given one direct slot into the Round of 32 of the 2015 Westfield FFA Cup. Bresciano retires from Socceroos Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has thanked Mark Bresciano for his service to the Australian team Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has paid tribute to Mark Bresciano after the midfielder announced his retirement from international football. The coach thanked the player for the enormous role he played in helping the Socceroos claim the 2015 Asian Cup and for regenerating the team over the last 16 months. "Mark played a major part in filling the leadership vacuum in the Socceroos and was a tremendous leader of the squad and mentor to the young players, who have been able to take significant steps forward over the last Darwin Olympic were the 2014 NorZone champions. Thompson to play 200th A-League game Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson will become only the sixth man to play 200 A-League games on Sunday as he plays Wellington Phoenix. The milestone was a little delayed after Melbourne Victory had to postpone their Brisbane Roar match last week thanks to cyclone warnings. Thompson is the league's all-time scoring leader with 84 goals, has played in two championship teams and was in the Socceroos 2006 FIFA World Cup squad. "Reaching 200 games at a club is a massive achievement, but the thing that's different with Archie is the contribution he's made to the football club within those games," Victory coach Kevin Muscat said. "As he rightly states, he's been involved in everything that's been good at the club." Archie Thompson initially feared he'd made the wrong move in his football career when he returned from Belgium to play for Melbourne Victory. But it gradually dawned on him that he'd taken a step backward to go forward. "The standard and the level and the intensity weren't there," he said. "In our code it's very rare that you're at one club for so long and I'm just grateful. "It probably didn't really hit home ... until probably this week. "Then I thought 'this is a great achievement for myself'." 14 months thanks to his professionalism and guidance," Postecoglou said. "Along with Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill, his contribution in a leadership position has been immense. 'Bresh' took on his role and responsibilities without changing who he is and how he goes about his business as a footballer.” He characterised Bresciano as someone that "leads by actions", influencing many young up-and-comers in the team. "He's a true legend of our sport," Postecoglou said. Bresciano made 84 appear- Mark Bresciano (L) with Ange Postecoglou. ances in 'A' internationals for the Socceroos, scored 13 goals and played in three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), two Asian Cups (2007 and 2015) two FIFA Confederation Cups (2001 and 2005) and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. While he won't be putting the Socceroos jersey on again, he will continue to PHOTO: AAP/JOE CASTRO. play club football at his current club in Qatar. Bresciano said he will cherish playing for the Socceroos forever. "It has been an unforgettable journey with a lot of positive memories but I feel it is time to let this fantastic group of young players continue to take the Socceroos forward." Kyrgios out of Australia’s Davis Cup clash Ongoing back injury to blame - Thanasi Kokkinakis likely to replace Kyrgios Australia's number one men's tennis player Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from next week's Davis Cup tie in the Czech Republic. Kyrgios was expected to have his first outing since his quarter-final loss to Andy Murray at last month's Australian Open, when he was named for the tie. Archie Thompson will play his 200th game for the league. PHOTO: AAP/DAVID CROSLING. But an ongoing back injury has seen him pull the pin on the first-round clash. "I am totally gutted to have to pull out but the medical advice is that my back is not ready to handle the workload required for a Davis Cup tie," Kyrgios explained in a statement from Tennis Australia. "I have been doing everything possible to get it right and I had convinced myself I could handle it, but the doctors tell me the risk is just too great. They say this simply cannot be rushed." The Australians have named Nick Kyrgios has to pull out of the Davis Cup, but fellow Greek Thanasi Kokkinakis will make the trip. PHOTO: AAP/JULIAN SMITH. Bernard Tomic, Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Groth and Thanasi Kokkinakis in their squad, with up-and-comer Kokkinakis the most likely singles replacement for Kyrgios. Kyrgios's brief but spectacular career has been interspersed with a range of injuries, with his back causing him the most grief. The world number 37 reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2014 to add to his last eight appearance at Melbourne Park last month. He was in doubt for the Australian Open before his run into the second week and hasn't returned to the circuit since the season-opening grand slam. Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur said in accordance with Davis Cup rules the Australians had to name a team this week and wanted to give Kyrgios every chance to play. "All through this Nick's attitude has been tremendous. He has been positive and desperate to get across the line," Masur said. "But the medical advice has been consistently wary and fair enough." Masur said there were concerns about Kyrgios flying to Europe with the state of his back. "The medical experts say it is just not worth the risk and we have to remember that we all want Nick to have a long and successful career, so we need to ensure his recovery is as solid as it can be," Masur said. "We just have to be patient. "I really feel for Nick because I know how much he has put into this and how keen he was to play for his country again." The tie in Ostrava starts next Friday, Australia still given some chance with Czech number one Tomas Berdych choosing not to play and veteran Radek Stepanek unavailable through injury.
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