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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 June 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 JUNE 2017 27 SPORT what the quality was like I think I held my own very well”, he says. "I was playing friendly games against European youth teams such as Spartak Moscow, FC Rostov, FC Krasnador and Swiss side Young Boys as well. I was heavily involved in those friendlies. Because I wasn't playing during the season it was hard. Especially seeing Jacob play week in and week out, I loved the boy and he was killing it and that drove me more." The passport that was holding the young defender back finally arrived in February but the Cypriot season would soon be over and Podaridis found himself at a crossroads. land, it was a different story in Cyprus as Podaridis discovered a small band of Australian brothers with whom he could share his European sojourn. "We had a good family of Aussies in Cyprus. We had Robert Stambolziev, Jacob Eliopoulos, and Tom Marisic from Adelaide," he says. "I was on my own but meeting those boys, that was the positive, and during that time I was training with APOEL, Jacob Eliopoulos was playing with their youth team. Jacob and I did everything together, we went to the gym, we worked hard on the field, and we also went out." While fellow Greek-Australian Eliopoulos was playing regularly in the youth team and soon progressed to APOEL's first team squad, Podaridis found himself in no-man's-land. "In that situation, it hurt me a little bit because I couldn't play," he says. "I was doing everything right, I was training hard but obviously I couldn't get on the field because I was still waiting for my passport. "But I didn't let it get to me and I just kept working and working and it paid off when I was selected to play in a few friendlies against European teams and seeing "APOEL liked me and the coaching staff were phenomenal and so were all the boys I trained and played with. They were all brilliant," he says. "But obviously if I couldn't sign for them there was no point staying till the end of the season, so I decided to return home. But before I left, word got out that APOEL liked me and I had a contract offer to go to Spain with Segunda B team Elche and I also had two more offers to go to England." Podaridis did return home and is now back where it all started - in the Victorian NPL. But after getting a taste of the big time, he says he still has unfinished business in Europe. "After experiencing Cyprus for nine months but not playing it was disappointing. I didn't finish what I started," he says. "I've just signed with Oakleigh Cannons in the NPL to keep my fitness up and I'm still assessing offers. I'm just weighing up all my options. APOEL is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and I'd love to go back there and after being in England and Cyprus and now possibly Spain I am in a bit of a dreamland. "I do want to go back to England that's my number one goal. I have my cousin Peter Skapetis, who is an ex-Queens Park Rangers and Stoke player and former Australian youth international. He tells me all the good things about England and everyone knows England is the number one league in world football and that's where I want to end up. "Harry Kewell even recommended going to a lower league team and getting experience in first team games but you never know what can happen." NPL heavyweights shape up for Dockerty Cup semfinal clash There's little doubt confidence at Lakeside is flying sky-high at the moment after the form team of the competition knocked over NPL league leader Heidelberg United 3-0 at AAMI Park last Sunday evening. A brace of goals to Nick Epifano and a single to striker Milos Lujic made it 10 undefeated league matches for Souths. The South juggernaut should continue on its merry way in a home league match against St Albans Saints on Sunday before coming up against another major rival, Bentleigh Greens. Third-placed South will take on second-placed Bentleigh Greens at Jack Edwards Reserve this Thursday in a Dockerty Cup semifinal. Can South's momentum get them past an opponent who have consistently proven to be very difficult to defeat in recent meetings? One thing's for certain, both teams will be fired up for a fixture which never fails to produce considerable feeling between the two. The last meeting in the league a little over a month ago ended in a scoreless draw but not before six yellow cards and two red cards were brandished by the referee. The Greens lost two defenders Archibald and Jankovic to red cards. Greens Coach John Anastasiadis will be urging a more disciplined performance from his team. In the other midweek Dockerty Cup semifinal, league leader Heidelberg United will meet Hume City at JL Murphy Reserve in Port Melbourne on Wednesday night. The Bergers, who are trophyless in the NPL era, will be keen to make the Dockerty Cup final and will be warm favourites to beat a Hume City side who have only one win in their last eight league matches, although the last meeting in the league between these two resulted in a 1-0 victory to Hume. But before that game, the Bergers face another tough derby challenge when they host Oakleigh Cannons at Olympic Village this coming Sunday. With the Bergers still smarting from their 3-0 defeat to South, they will be determined to bounce back and not give further ground at the top of the table, against an out of sorts Cannons team who has just one win from their last five matches. In other NPL 1 matches this weekend, both Kingston City and Port Melbourne Sharks will be looking for points in matches away to Hume City and at home to North Geelong Warriors respectively, in their bids to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle in the run home. In NPL 2 W action this Saturday, league leader Northcote City host Springvale White Eagles in a cross-conference match. Last week, City's match away to Ballarat was abandoned due to fog with the visitors leading 2-0. Currently 11 games undefeated, City should be able to extend their unbeaten run to 12 undefeated games against the Eagles. Government supports Australia’s bid to host prestigious 2023 Women’s World Cup The FFA and the federal government announced this week that Australia will launch a bid to stage the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and FFA Chairman Steven Lowy fronted a joint press conference at which the PM said that he was "delighted we are supporting a bid for the 2023 Women's World Cup. "The Matildas are wonderful role models for young women and girls right across Australia. It would be fantastic to have the Matildas playing to win the Women's World Cup on home soil," he said. Mr Lowy recognised the impact of the event,“This is the largest, most prestigious and most competitive contest in a women’s sport globally. “We want to win the right to host it and then win the tournament itself," he said. The Matildas are ranked eighth in the world, and have reached the past two World Cup quarter-finals. It is believed the announcement comes after six months of negotiations between the FFA board and the government, who will provide an initial $1m towards the bid, followed by an additional $4m in December if it is satisfied the bid has a reasonable chance of being successful. The government's cautious approach is understandable given the controversy surrounding Australia's failed bid to host the 2022 Men’s World Cup, which cost $46m. Several other countries have expressed an interest in staging the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The strongest appears to be Japan which is historically a strong supporter of women's football. Other nations interested in bidding are Colombia, New Zealand, Thailand, and South Korea. The rapidly-growing 24team tournament was last held in Canada in 2015, and drew 1.35 million fans and a global TV audience of 764 million. It has been 10 years since the Women’s World Cup was staged in an AFC-member country. FIFA will decide on the host by early 2019 ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup tournament in France, with bids due in late 2018. Spartans face arch rivals for top spot A big crowd is expected today as the Spartans go head to head with their arch rivals Old Xaverians to play for the top spot on the ladder. Both teams are currently on equal points, with the Spartans ahead by one percentage having won every home game for the last 60 matches. Last Saturday, the team travelled down the Peninsula to Mount Martha and were victorious against South Mornington, winning by 63 points. In what was a great team performance, the Spartans had 26 scoring shots, and scored eight goals to three in the second half. Ahead for the entire game, the Spartans backline was once again successful in keeping the opposition to only four goals and with seven different goal kickers they managed to achieve the majority of their KPIs. The win was particularly sweet for the team's new players, who have been improving each week, maintaining their top spot on the ladder after eight rounds. This weekend the Spartans would like to see all sponsors and supporters attend to support the team. Spartans vs South Mornington scores: 1st QTR 2.5.17 to 1.1.7 2nd QTR 5.9.39 to 1.2.8 3rd QTR 10.11.71 to 2.3.15 4th QTR 13.13.91 to 4.4.28 (final score) Goal kickers: Adrian Gileno 4, John Farah 3, Phil Gaynor 2, Jarryd Gaggin 1, Alan Coignet 1, James Maddock 1 and Daniel Raponi 1. Best players: Tom White, Dean Korlos, Tom Beech, Tyson Barber, James Maddock and Brendan Coutet. The Spartans take on the Old Xaverians at Rathmines Reserve (Rathmines Rd, Hawthorn, VIC) at 11.40 am. The canteen will be open.
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