Eurohoops.net: Greek duel on French soil
By Evangelos Ioannou @Eurohoops.net
A nice basketball story will be written in a short time in the context of the first game of NM1. We are talking about a championship of the second national category in France, in the premiere of which a Greek coach (Chris Chougaz of Union Tarbes) will face a Greek president (Nikos Seferiadis of Les Sables).
The draw therefore resulted in a Greek duel in the premiere of the championship, as Union will host Les Sables in the Pyrenees. But let's take things in order.
The 54-year-old coach started working for Union Tarbes Lourdes Pyrenees in November 2019 and the introduction was made by the then important member of Pau Ortez, Dominique Loueilh, who met him during the European games between them, when the Greek coach was working at the Austrian Champions Oberwart Gunners.
"I dived in the deep end right away because the team had a record of 2-11 (win-loss) in the first round before I took over and 5 teams are relegated from the two groups of NM1," the Head Greek Coach Chris Chougaz born in Alexandria, Egypt, who produced an amazing finish told Eurohoops of the season. Union not only remained in the division, but qualified for the playoffs!
Another two seasons followed with Union consistently in the 8th place, without having a high budget and, of course, having a young roster, like all the teams in which the Greek coach works abroad. And this is the main reason they choose him.
On the other hand, Les Sables has moved up in the last two years to NM1. Its headquarters are many kilometers away from the Pyrenees, however the two teams are united by the common origin of Chris Chougaz and the president of Les Sables, Nikos Seferiadis, who has been helping the club for years and since last year has assumed its presidency.
Founded in 2006, in Les Sables, a fantastic resort in western France overlooking the Atlantic. The coach since 2021 is Makan Dioumassi, former glory of French basketball. The budget is close to 1 million and the Greek president has given it a fresh impetus. Les Sables even has aspirations of promotion to the upper Pro category. In fact, Seferiadis tried to approach Greek players, such as Thomas Kottas, b
ut his efforts were unsuccessful.
"I want to add another Greek element to the team. I want Les Sables to speak Greek. I wish I could convince a Greek player to play for us," says Nikos Seferiadis, who has become good friends with Chris Chougaz, to Eurohoops.
It is rare, anyway, that a Greek president and a Greek Head coach are in a foreign league. The rivalry only keeps among them only for the duration of the match, as the same will happen at the kick-off of the championship, when they will face each other in Tarbes .
"For another year, with highest motivation and a new young team, the youngest of all, I can't wait to see our very warm fans, supporting us. I see the problems that exist in Greek basketball and I consider myself lucky that for another season I am working with the main purpose of developing and improving young athletes, alongside the team's competitive goals. Never a team, which relied on young guys, with a plan and patience, was damaged, and I am proud to see young guys that I threw into the battle, starring today in Europe and with their national teams," Concludes Chris Chougaz.
Nikos Seferiadis and Chris Chougaz will watch side by side the game of the Greek National Team friendly game against Spain this Tuesday.