domenica 21 settembre 2014

Captain Tsalkanis to lead young Vouliagmeni side in 'restart'

© Marcel ter Bals

After a summer of international focus which ended with finishing 6th at the 2014 European Championships in Budapest, for Greek goalkeeper Kostas Tsalkanis the mindset has already changed back to his team Vouliagmeni. The captain is set to lead the rejuvenated squad into a season of rebuilding in order to see where they stand and secure a successful future. Waterpoloworld caught up with the experienced goalie to learn his thoughts on the upcoming season, both nationally as well as in Europe's Euro Cup competition.

The preparations for the upcoming season are in full swing. For you after another 'international' summer, how do you feel and what do you think of your team?

Luckily we had enough time to rest because it was a difficult summer. We are already in the third week of preparation and everything goes according to plan. Two important players for us, Elmisian and Tigkas have long-term injuries but are getting back on track in the next few weeks, so we will be in full strength. As a team we are making a "restart". We have a relatively young squad and we build the team from the beginning. It will be a difficult but very interesting season and I am looking forward for the games to start.

Together with Christos Afroudakis you made the decision to re-sign with the club this summer but veteran Emmanouil Mylonakis left for Olympiacos. How do you think the team will cope with that miss?

Manolis (Mylonakis) is one of the best players in the world at his position. Of course he is a big loss for us but we have to continue. Vouliagmeni is one of the best clubs in Europe in production of new players and promote them into the first team. So Christos and I decided to stay at our home club and support this plan, which we also passed through some years ago.

Looking forward to the Greek league, what are your expectations? Will it be between Vouliagmeni and Olympiacos again?

If we are realistic we cannot compete with Olympiacos this season, even though never say never in sports. We are building a new team and have to shape the character and the mentality of the squad. So we have to focus in every game independently as it's a final for us. Our target of course is the final but as I mentioned before it will be a long and difficult season.

Vouliagmeni was missing from the Champions League draw results that were recently announced. What happened?

Yes we didn't apply for the Champions League but instead applied for the Euro Cup. For a team like ours there is no reason to play Champions league. Last season, where we had a better team, we played on the play-offs against finalist Radnicki and lost. After that we were out of international games from mid-October onwards. I can't understand the reason why teams that get knocked out from Champions League play-offs (3rd qualification round) cannot continue in Euro Cup. There is no logic explanation for this and LEN has to check this. So we are going to play in Euro Cup where we will have more games which is very important for us right now.

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