Subotic ousted as Olympiakos coach

Serb basketball coach Dragan Sakota was yesterday named Olympiakos’s new coach in place of the outgoing Lefteris Subotic, who was ousted by the club in an «amicable split» following Sunday’s loss in the country’s top-level AI division. It leaves title-hungry Olympiakos third in the standings. Subotic, who led Olympiakos for nearly two years, met early yesterday with the club’s president, Socrates Kokkalis, for a meeting during which it was mutually agreed, reports said, to prematurely end his contract. «The decision by mutual consent was made based on creating the best possible conditions for the Olympiakos basketball team to return to winning results, which are only suitable for a club with such a history,» noted a press release following the meeting. Olympiakos, a powerhouse in the domestic and European game for several years right through the mid-1990s, has remained without a major title for several years now. Soon after his arrival, in January 2002, Subotic steered Olympiakos to a Greek Cup victory but further success has since eluded the powerful and ambitious club. Under Subotic, Olympiakos ended a disappointing fourth in last season’s domestic competition and, the season before that, was runner-up to AEK, led by Sakota, Olympiakos’s newly appointed coach. Sunday’s 67-56 defeat to sixth-placed Iraklis in Thessaloniki, functioned, it seems, as the straw that broke the administration’s back. Sakota, who has led several Greek clubs, first made an impact by raking in a European title, the European Cup Winners’ Cup, with Thessaloniki team PAOK in 1991. His two sons, watching Dad lead the Greek club to European glory after defeating Spanish club Zaragoza in the competition’s final that year, have since become professionals in Greece’s top basketball league. Neither, however, is at Olympiakos, thus ruling out Sakota family confrontations. Dusan, the younger of the two siblings, a 5-year-old at the time of PAOK’s European triumph and now 2.08m tall, rates as one of Panathinaikos’s outstanding future prospects. His slightly older brother, Milos, who belongs to AI division club Ionikos Neas Philadelphias, has been limited by nagging injuries.