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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 June 2018
26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 JUNE 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Tangalakis to lead South for remainder of season GEORGE STOGIANNOU The last ‘CT’ to be in charge at South Melbourne FC enjoyed a long and successful reign. The latest CT to gain ascension ‘to the throne’ as he calls it, is Con Tangalakis, and by a stroke of irony the two CTs have now effectively swapped chairs with former South boss Chris Taylor currently in charge of Oakleigh Cannons, the club where Tangalakis, together with Peter Tsolakis, were joint coaches in the first part of the season. It's an unexpected and sudden step up for Tangalakis who was appointed as the interim senior coach earlier this week, just three weeks after joining as previous coach Sasa Kolman's assistant. "I found out yesterday that Sasa has decided to move on," he told Neos Kosmos following his appointment. "He's a SMFC favourite. He loves the squad. He's done well there for five years. He had a lot of injuries and suspensions and didn't have the luxury of having a full squad at any one time this season. As a person and as a coach, I rate Sasa. I think he's one of the most technically minded coaches I've ever worked with. But unfortunately SMFC haven't been getting the results. The pressure around the club has been quite intense and quite high. So all of a sudden, I've taken over the throne and I've got a massive, massive task in front of me." Helping him will be assistant coaches Santiago Escudero and Kosta Cai- makamis. Tangalakis says the senior team's results don't reflect the professionalism around the club. "It's a professionally run outfit with amazing facilities. I've got a lot I can work with. It's not like I've inherited a team that's lacking in a lot of avenues or a lot of departments. I believe they are one of the best teams on paper. It's just getting the best out of them. And for whatever the reasons are, this is something I have to identify," he said. "It's not about worrying about making finals or where we're going to end up. It's week by week, and getting the result each week." On the subject of whether the senior coaching position at Lakeside requires someone with greater senior experience, Tangalakis responds, "I'm not going to argue if I'm qualified or not qualified. I've proven at Oakleigh where Gus [Tsolakis] and I inherited a mess and turned it around. I understand experience has a lot to do with it, but I also understand that a healthy change room is very important in any league, in any category. So I'm up for the challenge and I'm hoping we can get the results and turn it around." South will be hoping Tangalakis' management skills, and ability to develop a united dressing room and positive team culture will pay quick dividends. His rescue mission begins this weekend when South meets another club struggling to climb away from the wrong end of the table, Northcote City. Coach Kolman resigns as South slumps into the danger zone South star’s future at Lakeside appears dim GEORGE STOGIANNOU Sometimes the unthinkable can happen in football. Giants do fall. Look at what has happened in Russia during the week when world powerhouse Germany was eliminated from the Group Stage of the World Cup f the first time since 1938, b South Korea. Closer to home in the Victorian NPL, the once mighty South Melbourne may not have fallen yet, but the are currently occupying the relegation play-off spot, in contrast to previous seasons when they consistently enjoyed trophy success. With just four wins from their 16 matches this season, the Lakesiders face the prospect of a fight for survival in the remaining 10 rounds of the season. While South fans have waited with growing impatience and frustration for the expected turnaround of events to arrive, the mounting pressure on the team and coach has taken its toll, with senior coach Sasa Kolman handing in his resignation following last week's home defeat to Pascoe Vale, and star playmaker Nick Epifano suspended indefinitely. The club has promoted recently appointed assistant coach Con Tangalakis as the interim senior coach for the remainder of the 2018 season. Although many would view South's current predicament as a crisis, SMFC president Leo Athanasakis sees it differently, telling Neos Kosmos "I think it's more of a slump more than anything else, which every team goes through. Melbourne Knights went through the same thing last year. Every team goes through the ringer. That's the beauty of promotion and relegation. You can't afford to make too many mistakes, otherwise you could be in dangerous territory. Our focus is on making sure we finish off the year strong." Athanasakis says a number of factors have combined to contribute to South's predicament. "We've had some coaching change at the start of SMFC’s newly appointed senior coach Con Tangalakis (R) with his predecessor Sasa Kolman. PHOTO: K DEVES Former South Coach Sasa Kolman resigned following South’s loss last weekend. PHOTO: K DEVES the year, some serious long term injuries and suspensions to key players. The recruiting from the previous coach before Sasa was [a] little bit short, left a bit to be desired. We didn't have as good a start or preparation to the season as we typically used to. We had a similar bad start last year, but we seemed to recover mid-season. We haven't seen that recovery as yet this season. We're hopeful that will turn around." On the subject of Kolman's resignation, Athanasakis said, "Former coach Sasa Kolman handed his resignation citing the fact that he'd done everything in his power to be able to get the boys around, and felt that he'd give someone else an opportunity to turn the fortunes around. We understood that and we feel that interim coach Tangalakis and his support team, can do the job and finish off the year with a good outcome." When asked whether in hindsight, the SMFC board feels it made an error appointing Kolman (who had limited senior coaching experience) as Chris Taylor's replacement, Athanasakis responded, “In hindsight, now that we have finished up with Kolman, obviously we may have gone with a more experienced coach possibly. But given the circumstances, the same thing may have happened with a more senior experienced coach, so we don't know. “We appointed Kolman in good faith, believing it was the best thing for the club and the football program. It didn't work out." On the appointment of Tangalakis as the interim coach, Athanasakis says, "we believe he's a strong individual and will be a demanding and imposing figure for the players to respond to. We believe he can get a response out of these players in the next 10 weeks." Despite this being Tangalakis' first job as a sole senior coach at the NPL level (he was joint coach with Peter Tsolakis at Oakleigh Cannons), Athanasakis says the club believes "He's got the ability to deliver the message and deliver the right sort of culture, that winning culture that's needed for the club. “It's about having a strong mind and strong message to the playing group, to become a strong and resilient outfit. I think that's been lacking with the previous coach. It was more about trying to develop a different style. But in the NPL, sometimes you need to get results first and then develop style. I think Con understands that and will be looking at getting results and fight as hard as they can to get the right outcome at the end of the year." One player who may not be there to take part in the fight on South's behalf, is skilful midfield playmaker Nick Epifano, whose future at the club is under review. "He's been suspended indefinitely till such time as we investigate the alleged breach of conduct that may have brought the club into disrepute through his actions,” said Athanasakis. “We're reviewing all the footage of the game (against Pascoe Vale) and his conduct during and after the game. We'll be making a decision on the future of that individual in the next seven days. I think that one thing is clear. I don't believe there's much of a future for Epifano at our club." And finally, when asked about the implications of SMFC's current senior woes in terms of their A-League bid, Athanaskis was adamant, "Absolutely zero implications. The A-League bid is totally different and separate from any performances of our NPL team, he said. “Our bid is about how ready we are as a club, and how ready we are from our infrastructure and supporter base. The current on-field performances of our semiprofessional team, has absolutely zero impact. None of these players or the coach would be in our A-League platform bid. It's a totally different prospect in a full time environment." In conclusion, Athanasakis called for unity. "You've got to take the good periods with the bad. Everything will come out well on the other side, as long as our club, our members and supporters stick together."
23 June 2018
07 July 2018