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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 March 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 MARCH 2019 27 SPORT Nikou comments cause uproar FFA Chairman states A-League clubs have a license with the A-League till 2034 Yarraville skipper Steve Georgakakis (L) has played his junior football and most of his senior career at Yarraville Glory. PHOTO: YARRAVILLE GLORY FACEBOOK Glory determined to make strong start to new season GEORGE STOGIANNOU State League One Team Yarraville Glory is a team which knows the value of getting off to a good start in a new campaign. Last season its campaign was hampered by a disrupted pre-season, following a late coaching change. Subsequently, it made a slow start to the season taking just seven points from its first 11 games. Fortunately, under coach Paul Donnelly, the team rallied in the second half of the season, avoiding relegation. This season the team is keen to continue its strong performances into this year’s campaign.With just three new additions to the senior squad, the squad is a stable, tightly knit group. According to senior captain Steve Georgakakis “there’s a good chemistry amongst the players in the team and within the change rooms” which he thinks is very important. “That’s one thing we have over all the teams I believe,” Georgakis said. “We have such a great bond. It’s not just on the field, it’s off the field and I think that plays a big part. It plays a huge part.” The team kicked off its season with a 3-2 win against newly promotedBrimbank Stallions last week but faces a stern test this weekend when it hosts one of the pre-season favourites for promotion, old rival Preston Lions, which has had the wood over Yarraville in recent seasons. The Lions are fresh from inflicting a 7-0 mauling of FC Clifton Hill in the opening round. Such one-sided score lines may not be so unusual this year, as there will be no relegation from the division due to a restructure of the NPL. According to Georgakakis, without relegation, “a lot of teams maybe won’t even go for [the promotion] and they’d be happy to maybe save the money for the year, let the reserves play. And you’ll have other teams that will actually go for promotion, because there’s not just one promotion place.” Two teams are getting promoted this year. “You’ve got your top teams that will go for it, your Prestons, your Sydenham or Sunshine,” he said. “We’re going to try and go for it this year. We believe we can. That’s what we’re aiming for, but you do take it week by week.” Even if it’s not this season, Georgakakis said, in reference to Glory, that it “is their end goal” to make it to NPL. “Even I’d love to go and play NPL. I think one day it will get there… they do have dreams to be in the NPL.” The 31-year-old midfielder concedes that the ‘dream’ may not be achieved before he eventually retires from senior football. Georgakakis stands out on the pitch, not just for his distinctive black beard but for his on-field leadership. It’s hard to believe his playing career at Yaraville spans three decades. Following in the footsteps of older brother Greg, Steve started as a junior in the mid 90s. A precocious teenager, he made his senior debut at the age of 15 in a team coached by then rookie coach John Anastasiadis. After winning promotion to division two, Georgakakis followed Anastasiadis to VPL club South Melbourne, before returning to Yarraville the following season. He left again in 2010 to follow his football dream in Greece before returning to another State League Greek club, Western Suburbs. Another overseas trip to play football, followed in 2013, this time to Berlin, before he returned once more to Yarraville, where he has spent the last few seasons captaining the seniors as well as coaching juniors. Through coaching the juniors Georgakakis has witnessed the cycle of former players returning to the club following an absence, with their children. “You see some players you used to play with, they bring their sons and daughters. It’s just this cycle, it’s weird, but you see it there now. And some of them get involved. They’re on the committee, or they’re coaches or volunteers. It’s nice. You get to see a lot of faces you saw when you were younger.” Georgakakis says there is a healthy junior base at the club. “It lays the foundation for the future. These kids are the future. They’ll be playing seniors one day I’m sure.” An expanded version of top-tier level football here in Australia may be a long while coming, according to recent remarks by key members of the Football Federation attending the annual edition of the Football Writer's Festival. FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said that all A-league clubs have signed a contract that allows them to participate in the current championship format until at least 2034, adding however that it is up to the discretion of the FFA to change that (although it was not made clear in which way that could happen.) Social media was abuzz with reactions to the chairman's statements, with everyone from organising committee members to simple fans attempting to negate them or show their frustration. The Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC) released a letter addressed to FIFA, reassuring the Organisation that the A-League was in line with Article 9 of the Statutes of football regarding promotion and relegation. Furthermore, the FFA released a media statement, shortly after Mr Nikou's comments, clarifying that while the participating clubs are indeed under contract until 2034 (with the exception of the Wellington Phoenix) which also "provides for the introduction of promotion and relegation". Adding further confusion however were the remarks of other members of the FFA Board of Directors such as Remo Nogarotto, who pointed out that he had "no idea" what Mr Nikou was talking about and assumed his comments may have been taken "out of context". Mr Nikou went on to state that a second division is indeed necessary in order to bridge the gap between lower division clubs, however he added that such a venture demands a unified front that currently does not exist as each state only looks after their own selfinterests. FFA chairman Chris Nikou. PHOTO: AAP/DAN HIMBRECHTS ‘I want to become a people’s champ,’ says George ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos Jr ATHOS SIRIANOS Fighting at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was something George 'Ferocious' Kambosos Jr had only done on Playstation before his win against American boxer Rey Perez. Kambosos Jr, 25, maintained his undefeated streak, defeating Perez on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner fight last month. In 2019 the Greek-Australian boxer, at 16-0, has his sights set on a world title. "The plan is for me to fight and win (a world title) in the US," Kambosos Jr said. "I'd rather have it like that and earn it there but my dream is to defend it and bring it back to Australia. "Bringing it back home is always better – either Melbourne or Sydney. "Melbourne's got such a big Greek community and so many boxing fans. "Somewhere like Marvel Stadium if we fill it out with Greek and Australian flags would be amazing. "Ranked sixth in the IBF division – the Sydney-born fighter has also served as Pacquiao's chief sparring partner in preparation for his last three fights.The pair spent Christmas and New Year training hard - where the young boxer says he learned just as much about life outside the ring. Kambosos Jr said that "sparring 200 rounds (with Pacquiao) gets you ready for anyone in the world". He said that a "guy like him has come from nothing so seeing how humble and generous he is has been great for me." One of the life lessons he has learnt is that it is "equal- ly important to be good outside of the ring because that's where a lot of boxers get lost." "I want to be become a people's champ and help people and there's no better person to learn off," he said. Kambosos Jr is the current WBA Oceania and IBF Pan Pacific lightweight champion with his next fight set to be announced for May this year in the US.
23 March 2019
06 April 2019