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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 April 2019
SPORT 22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 APRIL 2019 ‘Learn, Love and Connect’ through basketball ALEX ANYFANTIS The further away you are from something, the more you yearn for it. It was that yearning that led former basketball coach Thanos Softsis and veteran player of Olympiacos, AEK and PAOK (among others) Giannis Kalampokis to create the 'Learn, Love and Connect' (LLC) basketball camps. They got the idea after being invited to give a lecture at a basketball programme in Stuttgart organised by Hellas Esslingen, a Greek club in the region. Both sportsmen were left overwhelmed by the love and nostalgia the Greeks of the diaspora had for anything remotely related to their homeland, which resulted in conversations on what they could do to help these people feel connected with Greece, and led to the birth of the LLC programme. Mr Softsis told Neos Kosmos that each programme begins with selecting a suitable location, before creating a schedule with the input of participants including morning training sessions, as well as other events. The next LLC is taking place in Thessaloniki from 13 to 20 June. In the mornings there will be basketball training and visits by sports legends such as Nikos Galis and Giannis Ioannidis. While the afternoons will be spent taking part in friendly games with the academies of PAOK, Aris, Iraklis, Chatzivrettas and Mantoulidis, as well as talks by nutritionists on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. To break things up, there will also be visits to the archaeological sites of Pella and Vergina. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Fourth spot on the A-League ladder still up for grabs in final round GEORGE STOGIANNOU Vasilis Spanoulis signs autographs for the young participants of last year’s LLC program. PHOTO: THANOS SOFTSIS The idea is essentially that basketball is a means of fostering connections between people and their homeland. Mr Softsis said that it has been proven that Greeks have a deep connection with sports as can be seen by the euphoria they feel when celebrating Greece's success stories in the sports arena. The goal of the LLC is "the dissemination of Greek ideals and elements of culture and cultural heritage to the new generations in an experiential way", while also ensuring there is great interactivity between young diasporans and locals to foster understanding and exchange. The initiative enjoys the support of major clubs and athletes in Greece from teams such as Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and AEK, which also have a following abroad, and are interested in seeing Greek migrants connect with their heritage. Future programmes are also planned for Goumenissa. "The idea is that we organise a group of people from different sectors of life and we try to convey as much information as possible from Greek culture and Greek philosophy. It is more convenient when the programme takes place in Greece, as it is much more easy for us, as the monuments and archaeological sites, the speakers of various sciences, the theatres and the people of arts, the athletes and the invited guests are next to us," explains Mr Softsis, but they are not ruling out venturing abroad. "Of course it has a very big impact on expatriates returning home. Nevertheless, organising such a program in another country promoting Greek philosophy in life and sport is very tempting." If the Greeks of Australia show their support in the way they are known to, then the programme is guaranteed to be a success. Spartans ready for next challenge ALEX ANYFANTIS The Hawthorn Spartans are back from their Easter holiday break, and are ready to face Old Carey Grammar at the Carey Sports Complex in Bulleen. After a splendid start to the season with two wins at opening games against Marcellin and Old Geelong, the Spartans will be put to the test again. So far, the Hawthorn-based club has made excellent use of its new additions, while a great job was noted at the pre-season with all team members alert, fit and finding goal kicks from all their players The A-League home and away season concludes this weekend with most positions on the ladder already determined, with the exception of fourth, fifth and sixth. However, even if minor changes take place, it seems almost certain the first week of finals next week will feature a Melbourne derby, whilst Adelaide United and Phoenix look almost certain to meet in the other elimination final. Only a massive turnaround in goal difference this weekend would see sixth placed Melbourne City swap positions with Wellington in fifth spot and hence meet Adelaide in the first final. NEWCASTLE JETS V SYDNEY FC, SATURDAY 27 APRIL, 5.35 PM, MC DONALD JONES STADIUM Jets fans must wish that some of the finishing displayed in their team's 6-1 demolition of Brisbane Roar last round, was on display earlier in the season when the team seemed incapable of finishing the numerous chances they created. It's probably a major reason that last year's grand finalist will be missing in action in the upcoming finals series. They host a Sydney FC which has plenty of action left in them with both A-League finals and AFC matches to look forward to. With this in mind, Sydney FC coach Steve Corica could opt to rest players against the Jets. The Sky Blues can expect a tough challenge against a Jets team which have emerging talent in winger Joey Champness and midfielder Angus Thurgate. The Hawthorn Spartans are ready for their next great performance. PHOTO: GEORGE DEMETRIOU on the pitch. A side to be reckoned with, and with a recent promotion to Division Two, it would be a mistake of underestimating the team. It will certainly be interesting to see just how far they can push themselves. Today's game against Old Corey will take place at 11.40 am. WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS V MELBOURNE VICTORY, SATURDAY 27 APRIL, 7.50 PM, ANZ STADIUM Reigning champion Victory are assured of third spot, but with two losses from their last three league starts, they'll be looking for some momentum go- Melbourne Victory midfielder Terry Antonis could make his 50th appearance for Victory this week. PHOTO: FOOTBALL FEDERATION AUSTRALIA ing into the elimination finals next week. Victory has the upper hand over the Wanderers, unbeaten in their last 10 meetings. Victory stars Honda and Toivonen were rested in the midweek AFC Cup draw against Guangzhou. They should be fresh to start, whilst midfielder Terry Antonis, who played midweek, could be set to play his 50th game for Victory. Victory midfielder James Troisi however will miss out with a hamstring injury. PERTH GLORY V WELLINGTON PHOENIX, SUNDAY 28 APRIL, 7.00 PM, HBF PARK The final match of the final round of the A-League home and away season promises to be an entertaining match. Adelaide's Anzac Day win against the Roar, means they secure fourth spot on the table and a home final ahead of Phoenix. Phoenix had a welcome return to the winners' list last week against Melbourne City, following on from coach Mark Rudan's announcement that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season. His Glory counterpart, Tony Popovic rested a few players in last week's first away loss of the season against its main rival Sydney FC, whilst giving his son Kristian Popovic a debut off the subs bench, as well as a first appearance this season to Chris Harold. There is a possibility this match could be a dress rehearsal for a semi-final meeting between these two teams.
20 April 2019
04 May 2019