Archive for June, 2016

Pre-Season Friendlies Announced

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , on June 20, 2016 by alexaek

A little bit late getting this post up, but AEK have announced four friendlies they’ll be playing while in Poland for pre-season training. The four games are as follows (all times are local time):

AEK – Banik Ostrava (Czech First Division), 4:00 PM, June 6th

AEK – Korona Kielce (Polish First Division), 6:00 PM, June 9th

AEK – Wigry (Polish Second Division), 5:00 PM,  June 12th

AEK – Pogon (Polish Second Division), 5:00 PM, June 14th

Not too familiar with any of the opposition so I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m excited nonetheless. These friendlies only mean so much and are more a way for the players to get used to each other rather than anything else, but there still our first glimpse of the team after a couple months absence so its always something I look forward to. We’ve seen a few great goals scored at these pre-season friendlies too in the past, so that’s always a plus.

I’ll post more about any friendlies in Athens when I know more, in case any of you will be around at the time of the game(s).

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Chygrynskiy Joins AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags on June 11, 2016 by alexaek

AEK have officially signed Dmytro Chygrynskiy for 2 (+ 1) years.

I’m happy to see this one go through since I know he was a target for us last year too. Its unfortunate though that he won’t be featuring for Ukraine at the Euros, it would have been nice to catch a glimpse of him before he starts training with us.

I guess the next question I have is whether we will go for another centre back, or will Chygrynskiy be our only signing for the position this season? He will definitely be an upgrade to what we currently have, but I can’t help but feel more comfortable if we sign someone else as well. Afterall, we’ve always had strong centre backs in the past so to us be so weak in this position is quite unfamiliar.

Barkas Signs for AEK

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , on June 10, 2016 by alexaek

Vasilis Barkas, the promising young Greek keeper who played for Atromitos last season, has signed for AEK. The deal will see him at AEK for at least three years.

A pretty good move by the team if you ask me. I’m always happy to see us give young Greek players a chance but even more so when its with a player who has already proved himself in the Superleague. From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like Barkas and Anestis will be our main keepers next season. Too early to tell at this point for sure but I imagine Barkas is the intended starting keeper.

Nothing is official, but we are also supposedly very close to singing Ukrainian centreback Dmytro Chygrynskiy. He has played much of his career for Shakthar but also featured in some games for Barcelona. He isn’t extremely old (29 years of age) and has some good experience so hopefully he’ll be a step up from Arzo. He has already arrived in Athens and done some medical tests, so it seems like its just a matter of finalizing some details and singing the papers.

So far we’re not half way through June but we’ve signed a good coach and a couple solid players. I’m really pleased to see the team moving along well, hopefully by time training camp starts up in a few weeks we’ll have a good idea of what kind of team we can expect next season.

Temuri Ketsbaia Announced as Manager

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, Temuri Ketsbaia with tags , , , on June 6, 2016 by alexaek

Ketsbaia, the Georgian manager and ex-player who played for AEK between 1994 and 1997, has been announced as our new manager. He signed a contract for two years and while I didn’t see this coming, I can’t say I’m disappointed. I had high hopes for Montanier, but I’m probably even more excited now that Ketsbaia will be leading the team.

As a player he was certainly very fondly remembered by AEK supporters. He played for us during a period when we had some very strong teams but he still stands out as one of our strongest foreign players on th 90’s. With the time he spent not only at AEK but also at Anorthosis as both player and manager, he has without a doubt had the chance to understand what exactly AEK and Greek football is all about, something which I consider a huge advantage over another foreign coach who may have had little exposure to the sport in Greece.

Its still far too early to see how he’ll do, especially not without first getting an idea of the kind of players we’ll be singing this summer, but I have some pretty high expectations. I was in Greece for quite a bit of the time when he was manager of Anorthosis and I still remember to this day some of the big games they had in Europe. Taking a Cypriot team to the Champions League group stages is impressive enough, but some of the results on top of that were almost equally impressive.

Only time will tell if Ketsbaia will be succesful with us but I genuinely believe he as good an option as anyone for the position. With the right players he can get some good results for us but considering this is AEK, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him leave the team before the seasons even finishes. But hey, until I have reason to believe otherwise, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about it all. Welcome Temuri!

Montanier Arrives in Athens

Posted in AEK, AEK Athens FC, AEK Players with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2016 by alexaek

Philippe Montanier, the man who looks set to take over as manager, has arrived in Athens for talks with the club. Apparently he had dinner with Bajevic this evening but official talks are set to start tomorrow (Friday). I don’t think anything has been agreed upon yet but it seems like its almost a done deal and its just a matter of finalizing certain details. Still far too early to judge him at all as a manager for AEK, but I’m pretty excited. Its nice to see us this close to singing a serious manager so early in the season. The sooner he can get a plan in place and some players who fit his plan, the better. I wish him luck, although luck can only get you so far in Greece…

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Photo of Montanier at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, courtesy of AEK365.com

 

In other news, our two representatives on the national team (three if you count Bakasetas), have arrived in Australia for the Greek national team friendly against Australia. Mantalos, Aravidis, and Bakasetas all recieved quite the reception from the Original21 club down in Sydney. Well done to all the guys down there, certainly made their voices heard! They were also there as the main group of players arrived. I wonder where all the PAO and Olympiakos supporters were? Hmm..

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Aravidis with the Sydney Originals, photo courtesy of gazzetta.gr

Also a little note for those of you in the Sydney area. A friend of mine who is part of the Originals down there (he’s in the picture above in fact) is opening up a Souvlaki shop in Sydney tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/Souvlaki-Boys-618554614963592/. I wish I could be there too. I wish I could be there, but unfortunately Sydney is a little too far from Ottawa for me at the moment. Be sure to check them out though if any of you are in the area, any support for a fellow AEKtzi is always great, and I’ve heard they’ll have some Greek products for purchase too along with the fresh Souvlaki.
Last but not least, a video was released today featuring the best 20 goals from AEK this season. Some beauties for sure, but I kind of forgot just how clinical a finisher Barbosa can be.