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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 February 2018
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2018 SPORT DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Bentleigh Greens’ forward Dimi Hatzimouratis (centre) runs to the bench to celebrate his goal against Dandenong Thunder. PHOTO: KOSTAS DEVES Greens coach calls for improvement after opening win GEORGE STOGIANNOU The message from Bentleigh Greens coach John Anastasiadis to his players, despite his team's 3-1 win in their season opening match, is that they've got to keep improving. As far as contests go, Thursday evening's NPL 1 season opener at Kingston Heath between reigning NPL 1 champions Bentleigh Greens and newly promoted Dandenong Thunder was an uneven contest. Although the final scoreline 3-1 in the Greens' favour suggested a comfort- able win, all of Bentleigh's goals came after the visitors were reduced to 10 players in the 15th minute, when keeper Fraser MacLaren was red-carded for handballing outside the box, to prevent a goalscoring opportunity. Up until then, the Greens trailed to an early Zois Galanopoulos goal, and could've easily been two goals down were it not for Thunder centre-half Hamish Millar missing an open goal with a header from close range. Following MacLaren's dismissal, the Greens sought to exploit their numerical ad- vantage by dominating possession, and within 15 minutes they had overturned the deficit with two goals, the first a direct free kick converted by midfielder Jason Hicks, and the second a header from close range from Matt Thurtell after a cross from Blake Thompson. In the second half, the Greens continued to dominate possession and created several good chances particularly to Dimi Hatzimouratis. The visitors tried to keep the game as compact as possible and prevent the Greens from extending the lead, in the hope of pinching an equaliser late in the game. They did have a couple of chances through Brandon Barnes and Samuel Catherine but were unable to capitalise. In the end, the weight of numbers was too much for Thunder and a Chris Lucas cross found the head of Hatzimouratis for a final sealer to the Greens. After the match, Bentleigh Greens coach John Anastasiadis commented, “Obviously we had a bit of luck when their keeper was sent off. They made it hard for us and until that third goal went in, our hearts were in our mouths at times. Credit to Dandenong. They really fought hard. There's no doubt we've got a lot of work to do still, but we'll take the three points.” Anastasiadis lamented the turnover in midfield that led to the Greens conceding an early goal. “I don't know what's happened this year, but we seem to be making mistakes and getting punished for it. We've got to really make sure we eliminate as many mistakes as possible. There are a lot of players there that have come to the club. We've got seven new players. So they're learning the Bentleigh way and it's not easy. At the end of the game, I told them ‘you've got to keep improving. That's the main thing, as long as you keep improving, you'll get better and the results will come.’” Of next week's visit to Oakleigh, Anastasiadis said, “Oakleigh are one of the favourites this year. There's no doubt they've got a fantastic squad and it's going to be a very tough game for us. We've got to be at our best and try and get a positive result.” FIFA returns home following Congress Review Working Group talks FIFA delegates Noda Aklalkatsi and Luca Nicola, along with AFC delegate Ravi Kumar have concluded three days of meetings in Sydney this week with the game's stakeholders including the APFCA (aka the A-League clubs), the PFA, the FFA, and the AAFC (representing NPL clubs). The delegates arrived in Sydney to collect submissions and listen to the stakeholders with the aim of forming a Congress Review Work- ing Group, to finally resolve the major governance issue following the breakdown of attempts to agree on the model of an extended FFA Congress. The task now is for the delegates, now back in Zurich, and for FIFA to stipulate the terms of reference for the working group including the composition, mandate, and timeline. A decision is expected in two to three weeks. The delegates were tightlipped about any of these questions when they flew out after their round of meetings. But the A-League clubs left little doubt about both their grievances and what they want to see from the working group, by publicising its submission in a lengthy document. In a scathing attack on the FFA, the APFCA's document claims that the sole focus on the issue of a new congress, “has created an artificial impediment to the much needed governance reform of the FFA.” It claims that a fundamental problem is that the FFA is not an association as required by FIFA, but rather it is an unlisted public company which enables it to use Australian corporation law to avoid “implementation of the FIFA-required congress model.” It has also been able to resist the APFCA's push for greater transparency of its financial records and its financial reporting. The AP- FCA has also criticised the FFA's claim to independence pointing out that its board members have been elected unopposed. The document argues that the FFA has effectively disqualified itself from participation in the working group and has recommended that the composition should consist of three member federations, two A-League clubs, and one PFA representative, chaired by an independent chairperson. Interestingly it doesn't specify which of the member federations should be included. There is also no place for the AAFC in the working group, adding that a consultative role for the AAFC is appropriate. Finally, the document statement includes a dire warning about the “potential impending catastrophic collapse of the professional game in Australia” if action is not taken quickly to resolve the crisis.
17 February 2018
03 March 2018