Lessons in proper football mentality
Winning a title in a tournament can be overshadowed by morality and dignity. Apart from their on-field achievements, PAOK U13s prove having a personality worthy of the principles of the club and PAOK Academy.
Talent makes players stand out, but it’s not enough. Personality, morality, proper upbringing and education –especially when talking of children– can turn a player into a really great footballer.
PAOK can be optimistic about the future, as the members of their youth sections constantly prove that, apart from their skills, they have the personality and mentality to represent the club. A recent incident at Rhodes is proof of that.
PAOK U13s, a team of international pedigree as they’ve won the renowned Lokoball tournament and the Lukoilk Champions Children’s Cup, were once again the talk of football community. This time around, it was not their skills, but the football morality of their players that made them stand out.
The pupils of Angelos Zazopoulos and Ilias Galanopoulos were facing Olympiacos in the final and were leading 1-0 through a goal by Αltintzis.
At one point, a player of Olympiacos fell on the pitch during a duel in front of the substitutes’ bench. Play went on, PAOK bench told the players to throw the ball out, but the players didn’t hear the instructions and a few seconds later Theodoridis made it 2-0 for the “Double-Headed Eagle”. Nobody wanted that goal. It stood against their principles, against Fair Play.
What followed was the players’ initiative. Team skipper Thodoris Kaltsidis came up to his coach and asked him for permission to let Olympiacos score. Vice-captain Christos Tzolis seconded his captain’s request. “You can do whatever you want”, Angelos Zazopoulos replied, proud of their reaction. All children agreed that it was the appropriate action according to Fair Play.
They told the captain of Olympiacos that, right after the game would resume, they would let him score. They all pulled aside and the skipper of the red-and-whites scored while applauding them. “Unbelievable moments! We never see that in men’s football”, was the comment of the stadium announcer.
The match continued, PAOK held on to their 2-1 victory and claimed the cup being superior to Olympiacos. None of the guys celebrated though. On the contrary, the scorer of the second goal Dimitris Theodoridis broke into tears after the final whistle, holding himself responsible for the misunderstanding.
“We work considerably on football mentality”, coach Angelos Zazopoulos told paokfc.gr. “Our principles and morality are unnegotiable, more so during any event we participate in. This team possesses huge dynamics and their behaviour is becoming to PAOK. I would like to underline the important contribution of the players’ sessions with the club psychologist who focuses a lot on fair play issues, morality, behaviour and self-confidence”.
PAOK U13s will travel to Sweden in upcoming days, to participate in the renowned Lennart Johansson international tournament. They have been drawn to face Juventus, AIK, Crystal Palace FC and FC København in their group.
The squad consists of: Konstantinos Balomenos, Ioannis Stavrianidis, Stefanos Vasilopoulos, Vasilios Katsoulidis, Georgios Lagonidis, Adam Koufas, Dimitrios Tsapikounis, Theodoros Kaltsidis, Theodoros Pyrtsios, Konstantinos Grigoriadis, Athanasios Karakitsos, Aventis Aventisian, Georgios Krimitzas, Georgios Papadopoulos, Georgios Kalaitzis, Ioannis Tsakiridis, Vasilios Grosdis, Thomas Karamperis, Anastasios Sapountzis, Anastasios Temertzoglou, Anastasios-Andreas Tselios, Dimitrios Tsopouroglou, Symeon Symeonidis, Christos Tzolis, Dimitrios Theodoridis, Ioannis Saregos, Vasilios Altintzis, Vasilios Kortezian.