SPORTS

Musical chairs for coaches in Greece Iraklis sacks Pedraza, who may join OFI

With just over a quarter of the soccer Super League season over, the managerial merry-go-round has begun in earnest this week. Spanish soccer manager Angel Pedraza paid his last visit to the Iraklis training club yesterday, as he had been dismissed on Monday evening. His successor has not been named yet. Pedraza had been close to being kicked out the door two weeks ago when Iraklis was rooted at the foot of the table but, in the last couple of weeks, the team has boosted its game and clinched two draws, against Panathinaikos in Athens and PAOK at home. However the Iraklis administration was obviously unhappy with the club’s position in the relegation zone and announced that the Spanish coach was history at the Thessaloniki club after less than a year at the helm. Takis Lemonis, the former Olympiakos coach, and Yiannis Matzourakis, formerly of Xanthi, are the favorites to succeed him. Dusan Bajevic has reportedly turned Iraklis down twice in the last month. Lemonis told journalists that he had not yet been approached by Iraklis, but another report suggests he has also had contacts with Asteras Tripolis, which is considering the replacement of its own coach, the Portuguese Carlos Carvalhal. OFI is also likely to change its coach, as it remains at the bottom of the Super League. Frantisek Straka said after the 2-0 home defeat to Xanthi on Sunday that he is not a quitter and will fight on if allowed to do so, but the signs point in the opposite direction. One of the Czech coach’s likely successors is Itzhak Shum, the Israeli manager who led Panathinaikos to a league-and-cup double in 2004. Another candidate is, interestingly, Pedraza, who is reportedly traveling to Crete next Monday.