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Monday, March 15, 2010

The return match with Bordeaux for the Champions league will likely be the last one for Olympiakos with Bozidar Bandovic on their bench, with Alekos Alexandris more than likely taking over on Thursday, although the club has refuted it.

Wednesday's match in France was always going to be a tough one for the Greek champions after the 1-0 win for Bordeaux in Piraeus, but the turmoil within Olympiakos after the near certain loss of their Greek crown after the 2-2 home draw with PAS Yiannina is calling for emergency action by the president, given also the upcoming derby with Panathinaikos on Sunday, March 21.

Therefore Sokratis Kokkalis has reportedly lined up youth team coach Alexandris, also a former player of the team and previously the coach of Kerkyra and APOP Kinyras in Cyprus, as a caretaker until the end of the season.

He will be the fourth manager of Olympiakos this season.

Late on Monday Olympiakos issued a statement rejecting the reports about Alexandris as well as former manager Nikos Alefantos taking over as caretakers instead of Bandovic until the end of the season. Yet that has not stopped reports suggesting the change is imminent.

Reports further suggest that club director Yiannis Chrysikopoulos will not return to Greece after the match at Bordeaux but fly instead to Spain where he will meet with former Olympiakos manager Ernesto Valverde to confirm the Spaniard's return to Piraeus for the new season.

Sources suggest that the two sides have reached a verbal agreement for the former Villarreal coach to return to the post he had until 10 months ago, but it will all be sealed this week for good.

Valverde's name had been on the lips of Olympiakos supporters at various parts of the season, and Kokkalis has obviously changed his mind on the Spanish manager given what he had said against him when he hired Temuri Ketsbaia last summer.

Kokkalis had said he should have sacked Valverde from August 2008, when the Reds went out of the Champions League.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Museum of the Marathon Run in Marathonas, eastern Attica will permanently host the gold medal of 1896 Athens Olympics Marathon winner Spyros Louis as of this month.

The first Marathon gold ever will be officially presented to the museum by General Secretary for Sports, Panos Bitsaxis, on March 29 at 6.30 p.m. during a special ceremony at the museum, its director Maria Polyzou told sportingreece.com.

"We have been trying for years to secure this great piece of Marathon history and we have finally managed to secure it for our museum," Polyzou, a former Marathon champion herself, said.

Louis's medal will be permanently exhibited at the museum at a special bullet-proof display, along with the legendary runner's certificate by the Olympics organizers and his hat that formed part of the traditional uniform worn by Greeks at the time.

Louis, a Maroussi-born water-carrier, won the Marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens on March 29, 1896.

His victory gave great pride to the country, but his family was later forced to sell his medal due to its need for money in difficult times. They sold it to the General Secretariat or Sports, which a few decades later is now handing it over to the Museum of the Marathon Run.

The town of Marathonas this year celebrates the 2,500-year anniversary of the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. and this will form part of the celebrations that will culminate in the autumn.

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

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