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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 January 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2018 27 SPORT Yokohama F Marinos unveils Team Ange Japanese J-League club Yokohama F Marinos unveiled new coach Ange Postecoglou and his assistants to an enthusiastic gathering of club supporters in Yokahama last Sunday. In his address at the official ceremony, the former Socceroos' boss told the audience through a translator "I am very privileged and humbled to be the manager of such a great club as Yokohama F Marinos. I know I come to a club with a great history and fantastic supporters and I know the responsibility that I have being the new manager. My family and myself are looking forward to a new adventure, to seeing a new country and living in a different culture, to embracing the Japanese culture, and bringing my leadership and my philosophy to the club, to the team and make sure that 2018 will be a successful season." Stoli Dimopoulos with Tim Dakis. PHOTO: SUPPLIED also been training with the B team. "As Stoli has been developing I told him and his parents that part of a footballer's journey is to experience going to Europe and understand what football really means. "The culture of Europe is really different. Staying in Europe for a year and living away from my parents is more like living a football experience here in Australia for five years." Stoli says it took time to adjust to his new surroundings, particularly on the field, but once he adapted the teenager found the experience thrilling. "Just getting the opportunity to train with these players. They're just unbelievable," he says. "They have a great passion for football. The speed they play at, it's just great to play with them. It makes you a different person. "The first training session I was very nervous, I was daunted and worried. But once I started training, I felt confidence with them. I knew what the expectation of training with them was. I knew the intensity, and the level I had to reach." With limited opportunities at the top level in Australia, Stoli is just one of a number of young Aussies who are chasing their dream abroad and he says Europe affords more chances to play in a professional environment. "I left because there are more teams in Spain," he says. "The lack of teams here in Australia doesn't really help, because the teams are full. So, you have to keep trying with other teams and it's harder to get in. Whereas in Spain there are so many teams you can just play for anyone,” adding that he prefers Spain because they have more of a technical approach. “They just like to move the ball and keep possession. I really like the way Barcelona play, their style." Stoli is just at the beginning of his European football experience but Dakis believes that he is in the best place to follow his football dreams. "Stoli is now in a professional environment," he says. "He trains twice a day, five days a week and recently got his international clearance when he turned 18 and that means he can play competitive games. "UE Cornella has advised us that he will play with one of the feeder clubs which is called Santfeliuenc who are in the third division to gain consistent game time. He added, "My priority and my ambition is to have Yokohama F Marinos playing football that will make our supporters excited, make them proud and most importantly will bring us success. I see this year as the year that everyone will be talking about Yokohama F Marinos. I promise we will work very hard to make everyone's dream come true but we can't do that without your support. One of the most exciting things for me is when we walk out for our first game and I see the fantastic support which I've seen only from afar so far. I look forward to that." Alongside Postecoglou are two Australians he has asked to work alongside him - close confidante Peter Cklamovski, who worked as Socceroos technical analyst, and former Adelaide United strength and conditioning coach Gregory John King. Meanwhile, back in Australia, the hunt heats up for Postecoglou's successor. The FFA said earlier this week it had whittled down its list of possible candidates to a shortlist and that formal interviews will begin as early as next week with the aim of completing the selection process by mid- New Marinos coach Ange Postecoglou is introduced to fans. PHOTO: YOKOHAMAFMARINOS.COM February. The FFA has not revealed any names on the shortlist but strong candidates would appear to include Graham Arnold, Marcelo Biesla, Bert Van Marwijk, and Slaven Bilic. FFA CEO David Gallop said, "We have worked with our panel of internal and external experts, including former Socceroos Mark Schwarzer, Mark Bresciano, and Stan Lazaridis, to draw up the selection criteria and then considered candidates against this criteria. "Through this process we have whittled the names down to a small number of candidates, local and international, and we will soon begin the formal interviews. "It has been clear from the outset that we have to pick someone who can lead the Socceroos for this year's FIFA World Cup while also making sure we have the right set-up for the future, including next year's AFC Asian Cup at which we will be the defending champions. "The role has attracted some outstanding individuals and we are confident that we will be able to achieve a very good result for football in Australia." Mariners snap up Skapetis after Roar deal ends Former South Melbourne FC youth player Peter Skapetis is heading south, having been released by A-League club Brisbane Roar and subsequently snapped up by Central Coast Mariners. After leaving Australia six years ago to follow his dream of becoming a professional footballer in England, where he had spells playing at EPL club Stoke City's U21 team and a short spell with Dover City, Skapetis returned to Australia to join the Roar in the preseason. The 23-year-old Melbourneborn striker picked up a oneyear A-League contract deal with the Roar. Despite scoring in Roar's FFA Cup loss to Melbourne Victory, he made 14 league appearances, including nine starts for John Aloisi's team without scoring again. With the recent return of several Roar forwards from injury lay-offs, Skapetis and Roar have mutually agreed to terminate their agreement. But fans of Central Coast Mariners are hoping that Roar's loss will prove a boon to Paul Okon's team. Talking on A-League.com. au, Skapetis said, "I'm really excited to start training with my new team and hit the ground running." "Everything happened very quickly and I'm really happy to be here and looking forward to meeting all the boys. "The type of football Paul Okon has the Mariners playing was a big factor for me - I've always respected him. "I know a few of the players personally who are all great guys and great players so it just seemed like the perfect fit, so when the opportunity presented itself I wanted to take it. "I want to put the ball in the back of the net, play finals football and offer everything I can to get the team higher up the ladder." "I'm really grateful for this opportunity, I'm ready to go if called upon this Saturday, [against league leader Sydney FC]" he said. "It's a tough opposition - the best in the league currently, but if you can't get excited about a game like that then you don't love the sport. I'm looking forward to it." Okon added: "Peter is fit and ready to go. He will add to our depth in the front third as he can play anywhere in attack. "With plenty of football still to be played we're confident that Peter can contribute to helping us win football games." Lefteris Petrounias named Male Gymnast of the Year The ‘Lord of the Rings’ gets top prize at the European Federation Awards Lefteris Petrounias and the Greek gymnastics team were among the top winners at the European Federation Awards on Monday, receiving three of the top five prizes. Greece's ‘Lord of the Rings’ was presented with the award for Male Gymnast of the Year and for Outstanding Performance of the Year, while the Thrakomakedones Olympics team was named Team of the year. "I would like to extend a very big thank you to the thousands of fans who supported me and who helped me gain these two very great prizes," the athlete said. "In 2018 I will try to be worthy of these distinctions so that I can offer other joy to all people who show me their appreciation and love. "
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