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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 2 June 2018
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 JUNE 2018 SPORT GEORGE STOGIANNOU With the opening of the midseason transfer window expected to usher in a movement of players in and out of NPL clubs in the coming days and weeks, both South Melbourne and Northcote City have been among the first to announce new signings. South Melbourne FC (SMFC) last week announced the signing of experienced striker Ndumba Makeche for the remainder of the 2018 season, and late on Thursday announced the signing of 21-year-old forward George Howard. Meanwhile, Northcote City announced the return from Cyprus of former player, 21-year-old Jacob Eliopoulos. South’s forward stocks have been depleted this season through injuries and suspension. Key forward Milos Lujic is still currently serving a fiveweek suspension and will reportedly miss more games due to overseas travel in the coming months. Leigh Minopoulos is still recovering from an injury, although he made a positive contribution off the bench scoring in the 4-2 away loss to Port last weekend. In Makeche and Howard, they have signed two forwards who DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 South and Northcote strengthen squads with mid-season signings along with Hume and Bulleen, having conceded the most goals in the competition. He has already made an appearance on return to the club where he played youth football under Alex Gymnopoulos and made his senior debut under Goran Lozanovski. Eliopoulos partnered Charlie Beverley in central defence in Wednesday night’s 2-0 FFA Cup win against Altona Magic. South has unveiled new signing, striker Makeche Dumbe. PHOTO: SMFC.COM the fans hope will help turn their season around. New signing Makeche joins SMFC after playing in Malaysia over the last four-and-ahalf seasons. Before that the 26-year-old Zambian-born footballer played much of his youth football in Perth, his family having migrated there when he was 12 years old. His footballing skills attracted the attention of Perth Glory and he played for the youth team and was then offered a senior contract. However, due to limited game time over two seasons there, he left the A-League club to pursue his football career in south-east Asia. SMFC head coach Sasa Kolman told SMFC.com.au, “We have confidence Ndumba will deliver exciting football for us at South Melbourne. He will link well with our attacking line-up, showing us the talent he displayed in the A-League at Perth Glory and then overseas in Malaysia. His maturity and experience will serve us well throughout the year.” Howard joins from NSW NPL club Apia, but is perhaps better known for his time at Melbourne Victory where he made 13 senior appearances and 35 appearances for the reserves team. Before that he was at Box Hill United. Both Makeche and Howard could be available for South’s league match against Bulleen Lions tomorrow at Lakeside. Northcote’s new signing, central defender Eliopoulos, comes to the club at the halfway point of the season, with Northcote, Eliopoulos returns to Melbourne after a couple of seasons in Cyprus with the Championship-winning APOEL squad in 2016/17 and with second division club PAAEK last season. His return to Northcote reunites him with another former coach Eric Vassiliadis, under whom he played at Port Melbourne Sharks before heading overseas to Cyprus. Speaking on the Northcote City FC Facebook page, Eliopoulos said of his return, “The last two years have been an amazing experience and I am grateful for the opportunities given to me. While being back in Australia, it was great opportunity to join Northcote and to help a club that I hold close to my heart. I’ve grown up around Northcote and it is appropriate to help the club over the next few months.” Postecoglou throws more light on his Socceroos’ resignation In the coming weeks, Ange Postecoglou hopes to be able to swap the managerial hot seat for a bar stool on a nice Greek island in the Mediterranean from where he can follow the World Cup finals. And while the former Socceroos coach admits he'll have mixed feelings when he watches the Socceroos on the screen, as the team runs out for the start of their World Cup matches, and as they listen to the Australian National Anthem, he's certain he's made the right decision to leave the job after steering them to qualification. Speaking in a recent inter- view with BBC World Football, Postecoglou threw some more light onto the timing and reasons behind his surprise decision to resign from the Socceroos post, after steering the team to World Cup qualification following a marathon qualifying journey. He said, "It was probably 12 months in the making. Probably the final six months I was resigned to it. I think just prior to the Confederations Cup I got the sense I was becoming more frustrated with aspects of what I was doing, rather than enjoying it. Once the role was done, it was time for me to kind of move on and allow the team to go the World Cup with a different voice in their head and hopefully keep growing and have some success." Postecoglou spoke of his growing sense of frustration that people didn't really care so much for what he was trying to achieve to develop the team and the culture, but only cared about the results. He said, "Through qualifying there was a bit of a grind to be fair. I just felt I wasn't making the inroads and impression that I wanted to. At the end of the day, all people really cared about was just to qualify. They didn't care how we qualified. They just wanted to qualify. “I just felt the sense of failure in the fact that the conversation went back to that rather than us growing as a nation. As I said, once we qualified, I said, at the end of the day, I've done what was asked of me. We've won an Asian Cup, we've qualified for the World Cup. I just felt the time was right for me to move on. Which is maybe difficult for people who don't know me, to understand. But certainly, the least surprised people are the ones who do know me well." Whilst accepting the importance of results, Postecoglou explained that isn't what drives him as a coach. "I've been a manager for 20 years and the win-loss column is the most in a football sense of measurement. But that's not why I coach. I love building a certain style, a philosophy of play and creating things that hopefully make a difference. That's what really drives me. That's what I feel passionate about. And if I don't feel that marries up with where I'm at, it's best I remove myself because I'll coach, but I won't coach well. I'll just do the job." And what of the upcoming World Cup in Russia. Will he be watching and does he think there will be a tinge of regret that he won't be there with the Socceroos? "All things being equal, we're having a break here in Japan. I'll be on a nice island in Greece somewhere, at a bar with a beer in hand, cheering them on with a bit of luck." Former Socceroos coach Postecoglou hopes to follow the Socceroos’ progress in leisurely style from a bar somewhere in the Mediterranean. He anticipates mixed feelings when watching the Socceroos. "Of course there will [be a tinge]. I mean that will be the toughest time for me, and probably why I'll be in a bar in the Mediterranean somewhere, because I'm under no illusions of what I've given up. I realise I've given up a hell of a lot by making that decision but I still feel it's the right one. While there will be some regret that I'm not there, I'll still take some pride in the fact that a lot of the players that have grown in the last four or five years, I'm sure will make an impact, and that I've played a part in that."
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