The years have passed since the day AEK traveled to Belgrade to give a historic match with Partizan, in support of the Serbian people for bombing by NATO. The players of the two teams wore jerseys with painted goals in a match that the fans made one and robbed the show with their behavior. Sportime turns the time back and remembers ...
The match is the same
During the whole trip there was also the playing part ... There was no winner, as the interruption of the game found the two teams 1-1. The score was formed from the first half with Kitsman (13 ') and Zoumbouli (27') goals. The repeat was the most pleasant stoppage in a football match. Partizan fans entered the field and joined with AEK, creating a festive atmosphere. For the record, Partizan's later coached AEK Ljubisa Toumpakovits struggled with Ntamianovits, Krasovits, Savic Sanogevits, Stojanovic, Vukovic, Ilyich, Ivic, Biekovits, Tomic, Kitsman and the Union with Atmatsidi (29 'Michaelides - 40' Kourkouna), Kopitsi (40 'Kosthenoglu), Babonski, Milovanovic (42' Kapsi), Chekoli (45 'Zikos), Katsavos, Savevski (32' Kasapi), Maladeni, Kalitzaki, Zoumbouli, Nikolaidis. However, the minutes and goals in the game did not matter at all.
"Fearlessness in the War"
Since its inception the trip to the bombed Belgrade has been extreme. That's what a man like Dimitris Melissanidis, who was the inspirer of the idea. On April 3, the Tiger together with Petros Stathis, Kostas Generakis and Demis Nikolaidis give a press conference in which they communicate the details of the project. Melissanides' motanese "from the beginning said he was volunteering. There is no guarantee of war, "he said, as hard as it sounds. But it was the reality, as there could have been assurances that the satellites would protect the coach of the coach, but no one had confidence in the Americans.
Peace, courage and hope
But the one who stole the show with his statements was Demis Nikolaidis. "Greeks and Serbs are the only people in the Balkans who fought the Nazis. The message is this: Peace, courage and hope for those who suffer. I want to demonstrate the attitude of the Greeks in the war, "he said, impressing in the best way how not only he and his teammates saw the whole venture ... The courage shown by the AEK players who accepted the invitation-challenge, others showed it. Journalists, politicians (like Katsifaras), as well as ordinary friends of the Union, accepted to travel to the war zone. Of course, this does not mean that there have been no attempts to cancel the whole effort. Enic has been pressured by the Sports Ministry of England in order not to hold the fight, but she replied that her interest is to hold the meeting normally, as it did. At the airport this gave a few supporters of AEK's effort, even psychologically.
THE INVESTIGATOR ... TIGRIS "Not Described ..."
Inspired by the peace struggle between AEK and Partizan was none other than the then boss of the team, Dimitris Melissanidis. The "tiger", after the race, and clearly excited by the moments he had experienced, said: "I'm excited. What I live is difficult to describe with precision. All Yugoslavia opened her arms and welcomed us with the phrase, "You are our brothers." They stole in the streets waving Greek flags. I was impressed by the children. They came out of the shelters and came to the stadium. We were calling for AEK flags, shaking hands, crying, telling us that they were fans of AEK, "he said initially and continued:" AEK has surely given its soul, united the heartbeats of our experienced Yugoslav friends. It was the best we could do ".
SOLD IN THE MEMORY OF MANOLIS GLEZOU THE TRAVEL
Manolis Glezos is the man who on the night of 30 May of 1941, during the period of Nazi occupation, took the swastika from the Acropolis and raised the Greek flag. A well-known resistance, he participates in every effort against the wars and that was why he led him to Belgrade along with AEK's mission. As he says: "After this trip, until then I was not a fan of a team, I have become a fanatical fan of AEK"! His memories, of course, from the traveling to Serbia countless: "The horror we met from the Hungarian border to Belgrade, as well as the stubbornness of the Serb people to resist, will always remain indelibly marked in my memory." As to the significance of that journey, according to his words: "It does not just raise the level of the group but also characterizes the whole attitude of the Greek people expressed at that time. It was a journey of sympathy for the Serbian people. I felt obliged to participate in this by not only appreciating anti-war and patriotic energy of AEK, but also expressing the sentiments of the Greek people towards the Serbs for the unjust attack on them ".
He spent noon in Belgrade when the AEK mission arrived. Several people were out at that time, and just coincided with the Union team and the escorts, it broke into slogans. Approximately 50 kilometers from the border with Hungary, became the first reception of the Greek mission by local Serbian authorities. And the Yugoslavs welcomed Greeks in the traditional way, offering bread and salt, as they want Serbian customs when there are friends. One and a half kilometers outside Novizad, a lot of people waited for the coaches. They kept Greek flags and banners that wrote "Stop the War" and "My son asks why". As for what happened out of the stadium. It's just not described ...
Harris Kopitsis: We have waged the war
It is true that when the then AEK players heard about this trip, they were surprised. Indeed, there were also those who were troubled, not knowing what they would meet in Belgrade. "I've lived a lot in my years playing soccer, but that was definitely something different. It's not easy to go to the heart of a war-torn area, "remembers Harris Copitsis, adding:" We've been close to the war and we have seen situations that seem far away, but it was very close to us. When we first heard about this friend we felt somewhat weird, because when you are away from such events you can not know what to expect. Ultimately, we all decided we wanted to experience this experience. " Of course, Haris Kopitsis could not have forgotten the situation in Belgrade when the "yellow-gold" mission arrived in the capital of Serbia. "The spectacle we saw in Belgrade was contradictory. You saw the people walking in the streets and drinking coffee next to bombed buildings. If you only saw the inhabitants of the city, you would not understand that they were at war. But the ruins have brought you back to reality. Things were even worse in the rest of the areas we passed until we reached Belgrade. Wherever we turned our heads, we saw bombed landscapes, tanks and soldiers, "says Harris Kopitsis and continues with a wish:" I hope there will be no other ... opportunities for such trips. "
Ilias Atmatsidis: We were looking in the sky
The sad image that prevailed in Belgrade at that time also remembers Elias Atamatsidis, who in his words fully depicts the feelings of "yellow-blacks" at the time of the fight. "The picture in Belgrade was sad. Everywhere we saw damaged buildings. Nevertheless, the world found on the pitch was trying to forget everything. However, I can say that in some moments of the fight we were looking in the sky, fearing that we would not drop ... a bomb on the head ", are the typical words of the Union's then goalball player, who adds:" When we first told us that we will play with Partizan in Belgrade, the emotions were mixed. You never know what can happen in a country in war. However, I think it was an entire decision of the then administration and the feeling I have when I remember that trip is a great satisfaction. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my career as we went to give a struggle for a sacred purpose. "
George Angelis: Experience of life
"Wherever you play, I will always follow you," "Original" sings, which could not, of course, be missing from the trip to Belgrade. One of the members who followed AEK is George Aggelis. "It is one of the greatest experiences of my life," she stresses seven years later and tells the trip: "When we arrived in Hungary, we were dismantled in a hotel next to the Danube. In the evening, Esterházy visited us and with Demi we chatted. The next day the adventure began. On the street we saw the signs of war. Blackened buildings, burned fields, exploded houses. Our fear, however, passed us out of Belgrade. There, Serbian citizens with Greek flags were gathered and they gave us bread and salt, as a sign of friendship, while they called slogans in Greek. As for his memories of the game: "Shocking. There are no words to give an accurate picture. Serbs and Greeks together on the platform to sing and in general a situation that made you forget that out of the stadium a war was going on. "