It’s the Under-15’s turn to shine
The era of Covid-19 came as a shock which will surely be studied in the not-so-distant future in terms on its psychological effects on our youth. For children, especially young athletes, relief and a semblance of ‘normality’ can come only on the pitch. That’s what they love, that’s what they are excited about. Not even the hot summer weather or the long break from action can dilute their joy at the fact that the Final Four will go ahead! They simply can’t wait to get out onto the pitch.
Today at the National Stadium of Ioannina, also known as «The Zosimades» PAOK’s Under-15 side will at last run out onto a competitive pitch to battle for a place in the final on Friday (10.07, 19.00). The Northern Group’s dominant force, the Dikefalos tou Vorra face Atromitos at 18.00. The other semi-final is between Olympiacos and Aris which starts at 20.45.
In the northern section, PAOK was the clear leader with 42 points from 14 games (there had been two more games to be played when the lockdown period began) and in second were Aris with 21 points from 15 matches. The Dikefalos tou Vorra managed to score an impressive 48 goals and only conceded three. In the southern section the leaders were Olympiacos with 42 points from 18 matches, while Atromitos were second with 39 points from 18 games.
It’s worth noting that PAOK has the lowest average age in the league at 14,77 years of age. Also, the top scorer in the northern section is Koutsioudis with 12 goals, while behind him for PAOK are Goumas (8), Ganopoulos (7), Adam (6) and Kastidis (5). In the first 7 places of the top scorers list, PAOK players occupy five positions.
Concerning the previous history of Final Four contests at Under-15 level (which began in 2013), PAOK have won three titles, Olympiacos two, and Panathinaikos one. PAOK won it last season by beating Aris 3-1 in the final which took place in Lamia. The coaches of the Under-15 side in the 2018-19 season were Apostolis Papavasiliou and Dimitris Taidis, who guided the Under-17’s to success in the final against Olympiacos in Lamia (a 3-3 draw after extra-time which PAOK won 6-5 on penalties).
– The games are two halves of 40 minutes duration and should the game end in a draw, the winner will be decided be a penalty shoot-out.
Under-15’s Profile (2019-20)
This year’s Under-15 side – players born in 2005 – is a team that has kept the main group of players from last season’s MFCA title-winning Under-15 team (a reminder that the PAOK teams in the regional competitions are made up of players one year younger than the players from other teams), while the squad has also been enriched with a number of talented players.
Several of the squad have represented Greece at national level in Angelidis, Theodosiadis, Kottas, Panagiotidis, Vasiliadis, Lekkas, Ignatiou, Goumas, Filon, Kastidis.
Goalkeepers: Spiros Angelidis, Ioannis Batos, Vasilis Nikolakoulis
Defenders: Charalambous Georgiadis, Dimitris Papaevangelou, Athanasios Panagiotidis, Panagiotis Theodosiadis, Nikolaos Deligiannis, Taxiarchis Filon, Konstantinos Skourtis, Vasilis Pasachidis, Konstantinos Kastidis
Midfielders: Konstantinos Goumas, Stefanos Aleiferopoulos, Dimitris Kottas, Panagiotis Pekridis, Konstantinos Ignatiou, Minas Vasiliadis, Athanasios Giatzidis, Mario Lekkas
Forwards: Nikolaos Mavris, Gustavo Varela, Manolis Ibrahim, Ioannis Koutsioudis, Alexandros Adam, Giorgos Ganopoulos
The Under-15 coaching team:
Coach: Alexandros Alexiadis
Assistant coach: Ebenezer Hagan
Fitness coach: Mert Isbilir
Goalkeeping coach: Dimitris Krionas
Video analyst: Ilias Galanopoulos
Physiotherapists: Michail Kostidis, Ilias Moutaftsis
Minders: Evgenios Rumanchev, Iakovos Galinos
General manager: Stavros Sarafis