Ancient mythological Gods such as Zeus, Apollo and Poseidon could not save the country from going into a financial crisis that had gripped the Eurozone in its entirety.
From a historical perspective, one following the Twelve Olympian deities of ancient Greece, will notice that they had a God for almost all the elements but Finance. It was only expected that the country would be facing such economic turmoil that she is right now.
Football in the country has been affected as well due to the crisis. Negatively because clubs have slashed their spending on players this season with even bigger clubs such as Olympiakos Piraeus and AEK Athens taking huge cuts to avoid going into administration. The transfer spends had decreased by 85% in the Greek Super League since the 09/10 season from £33,580,800 in 09/10 to £4,769,600 in 12/13.
Teams in the league have also trimmed out on the number of internationals hired for the season with 59 incoming from various nationalities (mainly on free transfer) to 87 being disposed off. With numbers as such, there is no doubt that the clubs would be looking inwards for talented numbers to make up the team.
In fact, for the first time in 22 years, the opening week fixture between Panionios FC and Aris Thessaloniki featured a starting line-up purely made up of Greek players.
And it is the above team from Athens (Panionios) who are currently realizing the rewards of introducing homegrown players as it comfortably sits in second place behind league leaders Olympiakos after three weeks into the season.
It is too early to decide whether the club would maintain its consistency throughout the season as it has been witnessed a lot of times before. The momentum of certain clubs tends to decrease as the season carries on.
But for now, Greek football can be proud of her accomplishment in the current domestic as well as international arena. The Euro 2004 winners managed to qualify to the knockout stages of the Euro’s 2012, are currently equal on points with leaders Bosnia in the World Cup qualifying campaign and the younger Ethinikis fell to Spain in the Finals of U-19 European Championships this year.
And to say whether the God of Healing – Apollo, had his hand on the turn of events as Greece’s moves on in her footballing endeavors would not be naïve here.
PS: In Panionios’s most recent league game win against OFI last week, below was the own goal that was scored by an OFI player. Judge for yourself.