A star is forlorn

New national soccer team coach Otto Rehhagel has invited four Greeks playing abroad to the squad that will play the final qualifier for the 2002 World Cup against England at Manchester, on October 6. Grigoris Giorgatos is not among them. Giorgatos, a talented player into his second stint with Inter Milan, clashed with Rehhagel before and after last Thursday’s 5-1 defeat against Finland. Before the match, he refused to play in a particular place in the defense that his coach had asked him to. Afterward, hearing that Rehhagel and soccer federation officials were angry with him, Giorgatos went on the offensive, saying that under these circumstances he would not play for the national team again. Not surprisingly, Rehhagel took him up on his word. Greece’s humiliating defeat against Finland was the first official match with the veteran German at its helm. After the match, Rehhagel, not wanting to poison his relations with the players right from the start, shouldered the responsibility for the team’s extremely poor showing. It was made known, however, that he was going to shake up the team. Greece in any case has already been eliminated from the World Cup Finals. On the other hand, Rehhagel has invited Ajax forward Nikos Machlas to join the national team, giving the lie to those who maintained that he would not use him. Rehhagel also invited Zissis Vryzas of Perugia and Costas Constantinidis of Hertha Berlin. The latter, whatever his other merits, continues to be indispensable as the only German-speaking player as long as the federation does not hire a German-speaking assistant, as Rehhagel has requested. In the next few days, Rehhagel will invite players from the domestic league, including AEK forward Demis Nikolaidis. Nikolaidis excluded himself from the Greek team a couple of seasons ago, but Rehhagel, who has been impressed by his speed and scoring ability, met him and apparently persuaded him to reconsider. What Katona had heard was a young woman sing an aria from Don Giovanni in barely existent Italian and an unpolished Mozartean style. Yet the singing came out so naturally and the character came out so effortlessly. Katona then asked to see her perform on stage, and after one of her performances at the National Opera, he asked her to audition for him in private. Kelessidi obliged, staying up all night to prepare four arias. The effort paid off; straight after their meeting, Katona offered Kelessidi a contract to appear at Covent Garden, in Don Carlos (in a secondary role), leading to the role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata.

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