Coaching job left open

There appeared to be more confusion regarding the future of the Olympiakos’s coaching position yesterday, but the soccer club, winner of the last seven league Greek titles even though its boss has hired and fired 18 people for the job during his 10-year reign, decided it would continue the season with its temporary appointment. Sinisa Gogic, a former striker at the club, took over as coach from Oleg Protasov, the ex-Soviet International who was sacked earlier this week after leading the club to last year’s league title as the team’s fourth coach hired during the season. Protasov was given his walking orders by the club’s president, Socrates Kokkalis, after Olympiakos surrendered top spot to rival Panathinaikos following a home defeat to AEK. Prior to that, Olympiakos, under Protasov, led the championship for 16 rounds. Olympiakos is now two points behind before an imminent clash between the two archrivals that could determine the title winner. Yesterday, the Piraeus club said that it contacted Nikos Anastopoulos, a former star striker with Olympiakos during the 1980s, for the job. In an official statement, however, it noted that the «case was rejected,» alluding that the club was not interested in a possible deal. However, Anastopoulos, who as a coach nowadays appears set to guide second-division club Kerkyra to the country’s top division for the first time in its history, said he had refused the offer. «I’m honored by the proposal made by Oympiakos, but this is not the appropriate time to accept it,» said Anastasopoulos, whose team is six points ahead of second-placed Kalamaria in the Greek second division. «It is a big dream of mine to work with Olympiakos. I think I’ve reached this point. But at present, I want to promote Kerkyra, too,» he added. Other than its mention of yesterday’s talks with Anastopoulos, the club revealed little else about its current search for a new coach. «We’re going to the match against Ionikos with Gogic,» was all Giorgos Louvaris, the club’s vice president, told reporters following a board meeting yesterday. Just days ago, Dusan Bajevic, the most respected and successful coach in Greek soccer who has won several titles with Olympiakos, was also approached for Olympiakos’s coaching job. The Serb Greek requested a suspension of negotiations until the post-season period as part of his wider policy of avoiding midseason takeovers.

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