Bajevic gets club backing

Olympiakos soccer club wasted no time in demonstrating its support for coach Dusan Bajevic yesterday in response to building rumors that the Serb Greek was on his way out following the Piraeus team’s drop from shared top spot to third in the Greek first division on the weekend. The Piraeus club, held to a 1-1 draw in Crete by OFI, now lies two points behind leader Panathinaikos and a point behind second-placed AEK. The slip in the standings comes just days after Olympiakos was eliminated from the UEFA CUP’s fourth round in devastating fashion by English club Newcastle United. In a statement released yesterday, the club’s administration said it fully endorsed Bajevic’s efforts. The club also said press reports claiming that the club, owned by the powerful entrepreneur Socrates Kokkalis, was seeking to sell a majority stake of its shares, were unfounded. Returning to the coaching issue, it would be foolish for Olympiakos to part ways with Bajevic at a time when the team is performing superbly. It should be reminded that desired results do not always come when deserved. Nobody can deny that, at this point in time, Olympiakos ranks as Greece’s top performer. It would prove both constructive and beneficial for the team if the instigators of the rumors – a small portion of mostly organized fans – stopped putting Bajevic and his players to the test each weekend. This simply serves to create unnecessary pressure prior to each game. In its statement yesterday, the club’s administration noted: «In recent times, various reports on matters pertaining to Olympiakos by supposedly reliable sources, as well as unknown and mysterious sources, are being published. A Swiss investor, they’ve claimed, has been found to acquire the soccer club. Considering they know the investor’s identity, it would be good, then, for them to introduce him to us… Today [yesterday], a new and supposedly reliable newspaper ran a front-page story claiming that ‘Olympiakos is negotiating with [Ronald] Koeman to replace its coach’… Olympiakos is not for sale and is not looking for a coach either, because the club has one.» Koeman, who worked with Dutch team Ajax for three years, stepped down from his coaching position just weeks ago after his team’s run in the UEFA Cup ended prematurely.

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