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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 01 June 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 1 JUNE 2019 27 SPORT Coach Quintas instils strong team and work ethic at South GEORGE STOGIANNOU Football fans in Australia are accustomed to the sight of foreign coaches in the dugout at A-League matches but less so at the semi-professional NPL level in Victoria. The Melbourne Knights appointed former Croatian international Aljosa Asanovic as coach in 2018 and last season South Melbourne entertained the prospect of former Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos as coach of their inaugural ALeague team if their bid succeeded. South didn't get their ALeague license but they ended up with a foreign coach with Spanish connections in 39-year-old Esteban Quintas who was promoted from an assistant coach's role to the senior coach's position following the departure of previous head coach Con Tangalakis after Round 7 this season. His appointment may not have been greeted with much fanfare but the Argentinian born Quintas is starting to attract plaudits especially with the upturn in South's results which have given its fans a renewed sense of optimism heading into the second half of the season. In the ten matches he has been in charge, the team has seven wins (including five on the trot), a draw and two losses, and has climbed to within three points of the top six on the NPL ladder, and one win away from qualifying for the national stage Round of 32 of the FFA Cup. Speaking to Neos Kosmos midweek, ahead of the team's Round 15 trip to Dandenong City on Friday evening, the affable Quintas explained that since taking on the senior coach's job, he tries " everyday to change the mentality of the players," so that they work collectively both when attacking and when defending. "I try to get all players to understand that soccer is a sport all about the team. It's not tennis 1 v 1. It's 11 v 11 on the pitch and five players on the bench. The important thing is all together, fight together, all people work in defence, all people attack." Quintas believes the work of a new coach is impossible to see in the first week. "The work of one coach is apparent maybe after one month or a month and a half. This Aris to celebrate 50th Anniversary with gala night GEORGE STOGIANNOU South players and coaching staff celebrate their third goal in the recent derby win against Heidelberg United PHOTO: SMFC MEDIA is the key now. Against Heidelberg (last month) for example, goal number three, if you look at the photo in the celebration, all players, all bench players, all technical staff, are all together celebrating one goal. For me, when I look at this photo I think, 'Ok, now people understand me.'" One South player whose positive development under the new coach has been an integral part of South's progress, is forward Giuseppe (Pep) Marafioti, whose recent goal brace helped South to a come from behind win against Bentleigh Greens, and whose crosses led to South's goals in the 2-1 cup win over Langwarrin recently. Upon taking over, Coach Quintas expected Marafioti to make adjustments to his game, and these reflect the changes he expects from his whole team. "My coaching style is strikers working defence, wingers working defence, number 10 working defence (pressing). All people work. In my style, if one player doesn't work, it breaks the team." "One big example now is Pep Marafioti. Marafioti, the first three weeks with me, he didn't play, not even on the bench. Nothing. After one match he plays and begins to change. Pep understands, he needs to work, because if he doesn't work, he doesn't play with the team. But now Pep Marafioti is performing at a high level. I'm very happy with the level Marafioti is now. But he understands. If Marafioti understands, all people understand." Quintas works hard scouting opposing teams and players in planning and preparing for matches, attending two or three matches a week. "I think as a coach, you need to understand what is key to the opposing team." Using the recent win away to Heidelberg as an example, he says, "Before the game against Heidelberg, I say to the boys, 'Heidelberg has these characteristics, we have these characteristics. We need the match to go in this street. If the match goes in this street, we will win. If the match goes in that street, Heidelberg will win, because it's different, the styles...We need to understand the situation, what happens when Heidelberg lose the ball, what happens with Heidelberg when they recover the ball. We need this. All people understand and all people work hard. The players now, I'm very happy, because when I say right, they play right. I say left, they all play left. This is the best for each coach." By scouting lower leagues, Quintas has signed Josh Dorren as reserve keeper from Doveton, and midfielder Melvin Beckett from Geelong. He has also picked up forward Peter Skapetis from Dandenong Thunder, and he's currently working on signing a defender in the current mid-season transfer window, having just lost Luke Adams to injury. "We need to fix a little problem in defence because we don't have players, not because we have bad players. We have only five defenders in the squad." The coach is reluctant to be drawn on how far South can progress this season. Instead he says, that when he took on the job, he had one mission. "The mission is to escape the last three positions (on the ladder.) This is the clear objective of the club. We only think of the next match. We don't have one plan, like win the league, or win the cup. Nothing. My style is only to think of the next match. We don't have a plan after that. Soccer is impossible to have one plan. Only plan is the next training session, the next match. No more. This is my idea." "When Esteban coaches South Melbourne, the club's only promise for the supporters is that the players will run and fight 200 per cent. Because if there's no run, no fight, there's no play. This is South Melbourne. Number one! Work for the team." Victorian State League Two club South Springvale has joined the over 50s club and is hosting a 50th anniversary Gala Night to gather past and present players, coaches and members together to celebrate the club's longevity. Founded in 1968 by recently arrived Greek migrants to the Springvale area, it adopted the name Aris, after the Greek god of War whose image adorns the club logo. Current joint president Omi Emmanouilidis, says that by christening the club Aris, "anyone who got the Greek paper back then, could find out there was a Greek organisation in the area. That's how people joined on. The people that have been the members at the club, created family bonds, and became koubaroi, symbitheri, and things like that. And then they were able to continue that friendship with the next generation. Moving ahead, with the younger generations coming in, they've kept that tradition, in terms of keeping the Greek name Aris, to honour the past members. But in saying that, the doors always open to all different backgrounds and religions, to every kid that wants to play the sport." The club currently has about 260 registered players including both senior men and women and junior boys and girls. Emmanouilidis says 50 per cent of the club is probably made up from different nationalities and those people are also on the committee as well. And once they learn the background of the club, they're happy to sort of say, ' Look that's great. Why should you lose something that was built up 50 years ago.' And it's good to hear those comments from people coming from a different background." Emmanouilidis is proud of the way the club is run, saying that because of the hard work and business acumen of people behind the scenes, there's a high level of professionalism. Emmanouilidis says the club has a good record of producing players that have gone on to play at higher levels. "It's always produced players. The ones that went on, always look back at our club and say it all started from there and been proud to say they played at South Springvale." Melbourne Victory forward, Kenny Athiu was a young star even as a 17 year old at the club. But even before King Kenny, other players went on to play in the VPL, including John Sakellarios, George Argiropoulos, Nick Papadopoulos, brothers Steve and Jim Latinopoulos, Tass Emmanouilidis, Dimo Sevastiadis, Bill Asimakidis. Notable past coaches include Tony Gazonis, Eddie Efthymiou, Duncan Smith, Paul Tzizis, Aki Alagiozidis and Bill Lambropoulos and Con Tangalakis. The latter two coached the club to a Dockerty Cup final and the national stage of the FFA Cup in 2014. The club hopes to see many of its past players, coaches and members, join current members at next Saturday's 50th Anniversary Gala night to be held at the Warner Reserve club rooms in Springvale. The event begins at 6.30 pm. For Enquiries, contact Jim Simos 0422 405 847.
25 May 2019
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