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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 03 February 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2018 27 SPORT South promotes youth coach Kolman to senior coach South Melbourne FC has promoted its 33-year-old U20s coach Sasa Kolman to the senior coach's position at Lakeside just days after the termination of former coach Chris Taylor's contract. The Slovenian-born Kolman was first appointed youth coach at Lakeside in 2014, before departing for Europe to take up a job as youth coach at Spanish club Deportivo Alaves in 2016, followed by a return to Lakeside in 2017 to coach the U20s team and also take up a role as assistant coach for the senior team. At 33 years of age, Kolman becomes one of the youngest senior coaches in the NPL 1 in season 2018. Apart from a brief stint as a senior coach in the Faroe Islands in 2012, this will be his first senior coaching gig in Australia. While he may lack the experience of most of his NPL 1 counterparts, the powers at South are hoping that the appointment of the youthful coach with a UEFA Pro Licence, will be able to deliver continuing success to Lakeside while providing opportunities for the youth players to step up to senior level. An advantage of appointing a club insider such as Kolman, as opposed to a new coach from outside the club, is that Kolman, through his role as a former assistant to Taylor, will be familiar with the current squad, the pre-season program, and with South Melbourne's NPL opponents. SMFC club president Leo Athanasakis, speaking on the club website, said of the new coaching appointment, "our objective at South Melbourne FC is to win titles and continue the strong history of success the club has. As a part of achieving this, our strategic direction is one which will continue to focus on building a closer working relationship between our youth and senior teams." He said this will ensure the senior team philosophy and program is integrated at all levels of the club and appropriate opportunities are available at a senior level for future stars. "The youth program has continued to improve over the years and we want to ensure our young players can take the next step to senior football at South Melbourne FC,” Athanasakis said. "Sasa has been an integral part of both the youth and senior program for numerous years and we are excited to offer him a full-time position to be the senior team coach for the 2018 season." As well as holding a UEFA Pro Licence, Sasa has extensive experience both as a player and coach throughout Europe, while also having an in depth understanding of the local game and the club, putting him in good stead. Socceroo Bert touches down in Sydney The FFA says it got its first choice for the job of new Socceroos boss in Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk. FFA CEO David Gallop said "The good thing about the (selection) process, it allowed us to narrow things down to a target. And our number one target was Bert. As I said he's been so successful over such a long time, been right through a World Cup campaign, taking Holland to the final, and more recently his involvement with the Saudi team meant that he and his people had intimate knowledge of our players. That was the critical factor. It wasn't just one thing. It was a range of things." Speaking at his first press conference in Australia, hours after touching down in Sydney, the 65–year–old Van Marwijk said he was attracted to the job of Socceroos' coach because having coached against them with Saudi Arabia and as coach of Holland, he was drawn to their mentality. “The mentality of Australia is special and the sports culture is special. And I [wanted to] go A jet-lagged new Socceroos boss Bert Van Marwijk faces the media. PHOTO: AP VIA AAP to the World [Cup]. So I think that's a good combination." Van Marwijk says the job presents a big challenge because he has only four–five months. "So I have to get to know the players fairly well in a short time." To this aim he'll be casting his eye over the A-League and any prospective Socceroos this weekend before turning his attention to observing closely the European-based Socceroos. During the press conference Van Marwijk indicated that he wasn't a great fan of friendlies, preferring to spend time training. "Training is very important because as coach of a national team, you have not so much time. I like to train because you can improve the team and also the players. A lot of countries play a lot of friendly games. When I make a decision, I would not play a lot of friendly games. I would train more." Van Marwijk has been described as a pragmatic coach, giving rise to speculation that the Socceroos' style of play may change from the high intensity, possession based style favoured by former coach Postecoglou. "I have respect for the former coach but I will do it my way. I'm a realistic coach. I like creative football. I like to have the ball. But I also like to win. That's the most important thing. I think it's important that we play in a way that fits the players and also the coach,” Van Marwijk said. “You cannot play in a way that the players cannot do and when they don't like to play in a way you want to play, then you make a mistake I think. So it's important for me as soon as possible to get to know the players and their qualities." When asked what his hopes and expectations are for the World Cup, he replied, "I go to the World Cup with only one that counts, to survive the first round. And nobody has to tell me that's difficult because our opponents are good countries. But to me at the moment, only one that counts, and that's the first game." Giannou chooses Cyprus over A-League GEORGE STOGIANNOU With the World Cup finals just months away this year, there were few surprises when Socceroo Apostolos Giannou departed Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R & F in search of more game time. But surprisingly, after strong interest from ALeague club Central Coast Mariners, Giannou has opted to return to Europe rather than head Down Under. The 28-year-old striker has signed a two and a half year deal with Cypriot club AEK Larnaka announced on the weekend. After struggling to secure a regular spot in Guangzhou's first team line-up last season, when he made seven appearances for two goals, Giannou hopes the move to the AEK Larnaka will bring success to both himself and the club. AEK are currently fourth on the Cypriot first division table. Speaking on the Cypriot club's website, Giannou commented, "I want to thank the family of AEK who gave me the opportunity to come here. "AEK is a very organised club, so I decided to come. It is a team that has challenged for the championship in recent years and that's why I have come to win the cham- pionship. "My goal is to always look higher and with this reason I have come to a team that challenges for the championship to help them as much as I can. "I had other options, but I thought the best option was to come to AEK, having talked with the team's management about their ambition." Western Sydney Wanderers brings Ikonomidis home on loan Six-time-capped Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis will make his senior debut on home soil in the A-League after Western Sydney Wanderers announced it has signed the 22-year-old forward on a six month deal from Italian Serie A club Lazio. The Sydney-born Ikonomidis left Australia in 2012 when as a 16-year-old he signed a youth contract with Italian club Atlanta followed 18 months later by another youth contract at Lazio. From there he was loaned out to Serie B club Salernitana and Danish Super league club AGF, for which two clubs he made a total of 32 senior appearances. However on his return to Lazio, Ikonomidis has been unable to break into the first team which is flying high in Serie A at present. The loan move to the Western Sydney Wanderers brings hope that he could put himself back into contention for a place in the Socceroos 2018 World Cup squad. In other last minute trans- fer deals involving current Socceroos, veteran striker Tim Cahill's playing career comes full circle with the news he has signed a deal with English Championship club Milwall, the club where his senior playing career began 22 years ago. The 38-year-old Cahill commented about the move, "I've had a great career as a footballer, but to come here now at this stage of my career, with eyes on a World Cup place, it's such a professional envi- ronment. The romance of the story is definitely not lost on me. I've always said that if I come back to England, I'd come home. "It's hard to put into words because I'm still taking it in now, walking out, you know first thing I wanted to do with (coach) Neil (Harris) was to walk on the pitch, walk through the tunnel and have that feeling again that brings back so many memories, then once you cross that white line and touch the pitch it brings a nervous sensation that I had when I was 16 years old when I first signed here. So I'm really happy and you know I've had a great career as a footballer but to come here now, this stage of my career, with so much at stake, coming here you want to do well, eyes on a World Cup as well." Cahill departed Melbourne City in search of more game time in a bid to make it to his fourth World Cup and join an elite band of players who have scored in four World Cup Finals tournaments. Meanwhile 32-year-old Socceroo midfielder Mark Milligan has departed Melbourne Victory and is headed back to the Saudi Professional League after signing with one of the biggest clubs in the country, Al Ahli. Fortunately for Victory, their earlier transfer window signing of Terry Antonis means they have cover in central midfield for Milligan.
27 January 2018
10 February 2018