As a Technical Director, it is my job to fully comprehend the intricacies of contemporary football.
Furthermore, I have to make timely decisions, without fear or hesitation, armed with passion and devotion to ensure continuous improvement for Panachaiki.
Undoubtedly, my first step was to choose the most capable collaborators, and hiring the most suitable person for the right position, in order to achieve our team’s goals in accordance with the team’s plan.
From the moment that the team’s goals were defined and agreed upon, the second step was to establish a collaborative environment for the technical staff, administrative personnel, and Academies staff, where they could realize their potential and gain not only the players’, but the opponents’ respect.
Regarding the above, I am very grateful and I feel myself fully vindicated.
In Panachaiki, we have striven to create football departments and to organize our Academies. To work effectively with young ages requires patience, special knowledge and as well as the appropriate football infrastructure.
Therefore, we invested in a young footballer’s expert, Fotis Papapanagis, as Academy Technical Director, and Ilias Kyriakidis, as his direct collaborator as well as the vital link with the 1st Team.
Having chosen these individuals, we proved in practice that the training and education of our young talented players is “a valuable asset” of our philosophy.
In order to offer opportunities for the promotion of young players to the first team, the Coaches worked hard to develop footballers with the aim of ensuring that they were first and foremost upstanding individuals, and then professional footballers.
In essence, my aim was to impart the knowledge I gained from having worked abroad into a real work. Besides, in our country, we are “rich” in thoughts and “poor”in actions.
By choosing young, new players to play in the adult male team, regardless of whether they are from the city of Patras or not – gave us the opportunity not only to train them, but furthermore, to teach and educate them. We were interested in developing their mentality and this was the reason that we have been interviewing footballers, and asking them questions that would help us to elicit elements from the past but also from their everyday routine. Our basic objective was to offer real support to them in anything they would need from us.
In a similar vein, Team footballers and representatives from the Technical Team have visited schools in the city of Patras. In essence, I wholeheartedly hope that Panachaiki may be embraced by Patras inhabitants, for them to love their team once again and so that they may become the best ambassador and representative of our TEAM.
During our visits, we showed videos of Panachaiki’s history, while the young students had the chance to interact with the team’s representatives as well as myself, with the emphasis on the importance of sport participation.
In our stadium bleachers, we needed fresh and pure voices; we didn’t want to be an ordinary team but to be reborn through ideas and tendencies that are rarely seen in the Greek football field. For us, it was a huge success that our fans loved our good appearances, irrespective of the match result, and hated the phrase “victory by all means.” Our team’s fans had patience and faith in our team. And honestly, patience is an extremely rare virtue in our day and time.
For us, “professional Football” means to play with our heart – in both home and away matches- implementing the plan of our Coach, Sokratis Ofrydopoulos and his partners.
My collaborators and the players themselves are the ones that have implemented the directive that I defined so as to bring FOOTBALL to the core. To put it simply this means: A dominant team that has the ball under possession. A team with the aim of successfully playing football without any intentional delays. A team that is comprised of young, local talented players with a few experienced players, so that they can support our philosophy.
All Super League teams we have played with (such as Panathinaikos, AEK, Olympiakos, Asteras Tripolis, PAS Giannina, Panaitolikos, Levadeiakos, Panionios) our team competed as equals and with respect even if our Team was composed of players of the 3nd National Category.
On frequent basis, I have discussed with the technical staff the ways in which we could build a team, which will produce footballers that possess: 1.Self-belief, 2. Discipline, 3. Team spirit, 4. Courage, 5. Determination, 6. Faith in our plan, 7. Respect in their team and fans.
Our results and the public statement of our opponents have vindicated me to a great degree.
However, it would be hypocritical to talk about the progressive development of young footballers or for the education and training of our professional players, when a modern training center or the proper infrastructure doesn’t exist for the footballers ‘training, relaxation and recovery.
Without football infrastructure, we can only hope for intermittent success. Infrastructure is the most essential component of football development.
We have witnessed success and positive results, the title of the Football season 2016/17 (3nd National Division), the 3rd place during the period 2017/18 (Football League). Success for us, is the promotion of local young talented footballers, the promotion of new trainers, our fans’ continuous support, our opponents’ respect, and the vital bond between the team and its fans.
Success for us is regaining our reputation, which had been lost.
We hope that others will follow our example and our football to become better for all of us.
Kostas Katsouranis is ex Technical Director of Panachaiki FC.