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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 April 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 APRIL 2019 27 SPORT Lambadaridis goes back to the future for Greek derby The NPL player also helps other footballers prepare for the future GEORGE STOGIANNOU Flash back to five years ago in Surfers Paradise, when 21-year-old Brisbane Roar footballer, George Lambadaridis, was a guest of honour at a Hellenic Cup final involving Brisbane Olympic and a visiting interstate side Heidelberg United. The Bergers won the final and after the match Lambadaridis presented the then 30-year-old Bergers skipper Luke Byles with the Cup trophy. Flash forward, back to the present, and those two players will meet once again at Olympic Village in a keenly contested NPL Greek derby between Heidelberg and Lambadaridis's new club, Bentleigh Greens currently sitting second and third on the NPL ladder respectively. Byles will once again lead the Bergers out on to the park, as he has over the last two seasons, including the last two when the Bergers have been the NPL's most successful team. Lambadaridis left the Roar after an injury led to his not being re-signed and returned to the Victorian NPL in 2016 for two seasons at Green Gully before signing with Bentleigh this season, where he has featured in all eight league matches this season, in the midfield. Speaking to Neos Kosmos in the lead up to the game, Lambadaridis says he expects a totally different match to the first time the two sides met earlier this year, when they contested the season curtain raiser, the Community Shield, which the Greens won easily 2-0. "Our pre-season, since I've come to the club, I noticed there's a huge emphasis on being fit, from JA (coach John Anastasiadis) and the team. I felt in the first game, from a fitness level, we were miles ahead of them. But obviously since then, teams have been training hard. It's the league now. And obviously playing away at their ground, it's always an extremely tough derby game." Unlike the Greens, Lambadaridis believes that the Bergers aren't a very possession-based team. "I feel if I was to predict the game, we would dominate (the ball) like we do most weeks, but I feel that they're the type of team that have quality players, and they've been together as a group for a long time. You give them a sniff and they're going to punish you. That's how they've been suc- cessful over the last couple of seasons. Sometimes you walk out there going, 'gee, how did we even give them a chance?' And they just punish you and get the result. So I think that's probably what we've sort of lacked. That bit of conviction, that bit of mongrel to grind out results. If we're not on our game, I think that's going to be really evident in this match." Along with a handful of new arrivals, Lambadaridis says he has enjoyed coming into a group that's been together for a long time, and he is confident that the team will continue to do well even after current senior coach John Anastasiadis departs in mid season for the A-League. “It's a very strong group. I feel like the boys drive a lot of it. I know obviously we're going to miss JA after he leaves mid-year. But even then I'm still confident that with whoever ends up taking over, that the group itself would drive it very well because of the identity and the way we play." Speaking about the way the team plays, Lambadaridis says its been really positive for him. "The league itself is really physical. So I'm personally more suited to a ball playing team where, it's not A 21 year old George Lambadaridis (R) presents Heidelberg United skipper Luke Byles (L) with the Hellenic Cup as Bergers coach George Katsakis looks on. PHOTO: NEOS KOSMOS a lot of long balls. We're actually keeping possession, moving the ball around, moving teams. We're mobile and that suits my game. The players you just mentioned (Holmes, Baressi, Mitrovic) they all sort of fit that criteria so I think the club sort of nailed it in terms of the types of people and style of players that they've gone after. Not only good footballers, but also work extremely hard. And then that's why I go back to culture as well.. You mix those two things together and it’s normally pretty successful." Having experienced football as a professional at Brisbane Roar, Lambadaridis maintains a professional attitude to his football as he approaches the peak years of his football career (he'll be 27 later this month), playing in a semi-professional league. "From a football perspective I still take it very seriously as well. I still treat myself like a professional and if the opportunities come out of that, great…I'll always look at it. But my main focus is really to make sure I perform every week." Apart from football, Lambadaridis has built himself a good business off the park. A Monash University graduate with a Bachelor degree in Business, he combines his work as a mortgage broker, with a passion for educating others and in collaboration with the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) he is active in helping to educate professional footballers about managing their finances. As he explains, "When I was playing with Brisbane, I noticed there was a real lack around education, of financial literacy. Yes, I'm a mortgage broker. That's sort of my bread and butter. But I've also had a really big emphasis on education. So I go around the A-League and present to players. I mentor a lot of the players on just basic stuff. For example understanding the process of buying a house, how banks will look at them, bad things on credit cards, when they go for car loans, living expenses, budgeting, basic things that you need that you don't learn at school and that you don't really learn as a footballer. So that they can make some of their own decisions as well. "I've been really lucky to be endorsed a little bit by the PFA and they've basically given me a base. Because, obviously my story as well. I went through some tough years with injury, which was one of the reasons I didn't end up getting re-signed (at Roar). So yeah, when I'm sitting down with players, they really understand it. And I'm a living example for them. So I love it, because it mixes what I'm passionate about, finance and football as well." Nikou wins seat on AFC executive committee FFA Chairman Chris Nikou was elected to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee, for a four year term on Saturday, becoming just the second ever Australian to serve on the executive committee. Nikou's election took place at the 29th AFC Congress in Malaysia, attended by representatives of the 47 member associations of the AFC, who voted to elect a new AFC President (Sheikh Salman, unopposed) as well as the new executive committee. In being elected, Nikou succeeded the first ever Australian to serve on the executive committee, Moya Dodd, who served for 12 years, including a period as the first ever female vice president of the AFC. Speaking on FFA.com, Nikou said upon being appointed to the AFC Executive Committee, “I would first like to thank my colleagues across Asia for entrusting me with the responsibility that a position on the AFC Executive Committee entails," Nikou said. "Recognising that responsibility, I am committed to working hard to support the development of the world game across the entire Asian football community." Since joining the AFC in ing on various AFC committees, added to the commercial growth of Asian football and delivered a range of development programs across the Confederation. Australia's hosting of the AFC Asian Cup in 2015 also set a new benchmark for Asia's flagship event. "I am committed to rais- Both FFA Chairman Chris Nikou (R) and FFA Ceo David Gallop attended the AFC Congress in Malaysia last week. 2006, Australia has sought to learn from as well as support our fellow Mem- ber Associations in Asia. We have shared knowledge and expertise through serv- ing even further Australia's engagement with Asia, and my new position on the AFC Executive Committee provides an opportunity to continue driving the relationship. Through the Executive Committee, we have an avenue to express Australia's position on different matters, hear matters of priority from other members and work collaboratively with the Asian football community to ensure the vision of the AFC is achieved – that Asia be the world's leading football confederation." Nikou praised the contribution of retiring AFC Executive Committee member Moya Dodd. "Across a 12year period, Moya has represented Australia with distinction in Asia, especially with regard to making the game more inclusive for women and girls at all levels – from the boardroom to the grassroots. I would like to thank her for her contribution."
06 April 2019
20 April 2019