Kazazis quits PAO bench

Internal divisions within the Panathinaikos squad forced coach Stelios Kazazis to tender his resignation in what was the weekend’s most important news at the A1 division.

Despite Panathinaikos’s easy 3-0 home win over Ethnikos Alexandroupolis, Kazazis announced his resignation right after the game on March 12 and revealed that he had already made up his mind three days earlier.

“I realized that some squad members had lost confidence,» said Kazazis, explaining his decision.

“The board will do everything possible to find a suitable successor in the next few days,» stated club president Stratos Sopilis.

The decision comes as a shock, as Kazazis was literally the reason Panathinaikos managed to field a team this season in the league, given that the financial problems of the summer and the fall nearly prompted all the players to leave the club; it was the experienced coach who kept the squad together.

Panathinaikos defeated Ethnikos 25-18, 25-16, 25-16 within 63 minutes to stay two points behind leaders Iraklis, who thrashed bottom side Panellinios 3-0 away (25-14, 25-21, 25-18).

PAOK, in third, saw off visiting Lamia 3-0 (25-18, 30-28, 25-18), staying one point ahead of Olympiakos, who returned from Thessaloniki with a 3-0 win at Aris on March 11 (25-17, 25-17, 25-19).

EA Patras was absolutely imposing over Apollon Kalamarias, winning 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-9), but Apollon will not mind too much as Epikouros Polichnis lost 3-1 at home to Kifissia (23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 26-28) to edge closer to relegation, along with Panellinios.

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