Greek team faces Iraq in All Nations Cup second round

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Following weeks of preparation, the Greek team tied 3 – 3 with Iraq on Sunday, October 16 in the second round of the annual football competition – the All Nations Cup.

The All Nations Cup has run since 1982, pitching representative teams that comprise of players representing the country of birth of their parents origin.

The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) decided to enter a Greek team in the competition as part of a broader outreach into the football community, with a view to bring together and represent the many players of Greek origin currently playing football in Victoria.

After the Greek team’s match against Afghanistan last Sunday, the President of the GCM, Bill Papastergiadis, said “it was a great experience.”

“We have so many talented players of Greek background playing for us. They are training under the watchful eye of NPL coaches George Katsakis (Heidelberg Utd FC) and Con Tangalakis (Kingston City FC),” Mr Papastergiadis added.

“The match was played in great spirit and the atmosphere at the ground was electric. The hosts (Knox) remarked to us that they were ecstatic of the involvement of the Greece team as it brought crowds and another dimension to the event.

“Win, lose or draw, the fact that we are bringing so many players and coaches together from so many top clubs is what really counts. And if we can bring them closer to the GCM, then that is a bonus.”

Sixteen teams take part in the competition and after facing Afghanistan and Iraq, the Greek team will next play against France on Sunday, October 23 at 1pm.

Mr Papastergiadis said the All Nations Cup “is a great way to unite communities and the involvement of the GCM in hosting a team reflects the broad outreach of the organisation.”

“All facets of our lives are intertwined. Sport is a major focus of our lives in Australia. The GCM needs to play a role in reaching all Victorians and football is a clear pathway for this,” Mr Papastergiadis added.

“So many young boys and girls play this sport. Hence, we can use our involvement in the All Nations Cup to reach so many different people that we never had a relationship with.”

GCM education conveyor, Nick Dallas, added that the community will continue to offer educational programs remotely for kids who play football and train three times a week and don’t have time to attend structured classes in the Greek language.

“The GCM has acquired experience in delivering Greek language courses to different types of student cohorts both online and face-to-face. Anecdotally, we know that many kids involved in sport are generally less likely to pursue language courses. We want to be a bridge in this conversation. Football is multilingual,” Mr Dallas said.

Mr Papastergiadis thanked Mr Dallas, Steve and Harry Tsalikidis, Michael Karamitos, Chris Pavlidis and Kon Kyranakis for their input and sponsorship of the GCM Greek Football Team. Jorge Menidis has also been instrumental in the team.

The GCM Vice President, Michael Karamitos, also expressed his appreciation to the coaching team and said “it’s so good to involve people and players with the GCM who previously were not linked to us. I am hopeful that we can leverage from this to build some of the connections referred to by Nick Dallas.”

The GCM also said it aims to reintroduce the Hellenic Cup in 2023 with further announcements to be made in the near future.

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