The 6th Balkan Team Championship has just finished and made us draw some conclusions.
Our website followed from the very beginning the whole preparation of our national team and now has a complete picture of what happened 5 months before the games until now.
Since June, the champion Eliza Kargioti as well as the other champion Zeta Tzamalouka, are worried about the Balkan Games and have been sending messages to a member of the five-member committee of EFOA,firstly to send their aproval to the European organiser committee and secondly for the completion of our national team with a substitute young player through a pool. In other words, the best younger players or at least from the 3-5 place to compete and the best player to take part in the games. No answer was received. The EFOA member has been ignoring for 5 months those players’ efforts and to make matters worse, during an EFOA meeting, she influenced another 2 members of the commiittee resulting in the voting-down of the Greek National Team’s participation with a majority of 3-2 (for the Balkan Games)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. In other words, they prohibited the Greek National Team’s participation in the games ,with no decent explanation, when it was the team which brought the silver medal to our country. She also made pejorative comments for the National Team in her messages, mentioning that this is not a National Team but rather a company. This outraged Zeta Tzamalouka, who consequently wrote an article in the squashnews.gr for the female national Greek team, which you have already read. Upon intense pressure of the wise Greek squash people (Mr. Pasaliades, Mr. Samanundi, Mr. Barleti and others), and fortunately, thanks to the rational ones of the committee, the girls were eventually given permission to represent our country, 2 days before the closure of the deadline. Zeta Tzamalouka and Eliza Kargioti took the initiative and only for these games, due to the unsettled situation …and due to troubles with her knee, to add a fourth, younger substitute player, Anna Luisa Chaliasou, for the baptism of fire and a possible assistance.
Eliza, in co-operation with the team of squashnews.gr, did her best and along with her personal sponsors, the trip took shape.
The girls, who have won in the Balkan Games twice in the past, managed a heroic success, especially if we take into account the adverse conditions. And there was also a great possibility to get the Cup, if Zeta didn’t get hurt.
Let’s now return to the competing part and what we suggest for the future as the squash website with expert counselors upon this issue.
The Details of the Games:
1. Eliza: 4/4 wins, undefeated, of purely PSA level games, she showed the difference with the other countries’ number 1.
2. Zeta: unlucky with her knee, she made heroic efforts, huge experience. She also played for strategic reasons, in order to help the team maintain its makeup. We want her to transfer her experience to the new generations and we suggest that she officially takes on the female national team’s position as a coach. Her expenses will permanenty be undertaken by squashnews.gr with its sponsors and partners due to her enormous offer in the Greek squash.
3. Nicole: Winning difficult games, she took us to the finals with her amazing game in the semi-finals. The facts, however, have changed in the European squash and endless hours of training are needed in order to equally fight against the 16-year old girls of the first 3 places in the raniking of other countries.
4. Anna-Luisa: She had a victory in the second round, making a good impression for the team’s future…
1. ZetaTzamalouka should take on the the female national team’s position as a coach.
2. The gradual staffing of our national team with juniors as well as young female players, who will systematically train and will be governed by sports ideals, such as team spirit and drive to follow the instructions of their experienced fellow athletes. (When other European teams invest in their juniors, we should not send old players who have nothing to contribute except for promenades with cigarettes and coffees and casual clothes in-between the games).
3. The sensitisation of the EFOA committee in order to timely form Men’s and Women’s National Team, particularly when there are sponsors.
4. We were impressed by the Slovenia National Team, who decided to include younge children in their National team and win the second place. In an interview to the squashnews magazine, their coach mentioned that he prefers to build a team for the future that will get cups for the next ten years rather than have now 1-2 and then get nothing. Similarly, we want the work that is now happening in women to happen in men as well. The absence of Men’s National Team was very sad.
5.Men’s team should quickly be organised with their sponsors and not show indifference in such important events.