In his exclusive interview for the official website of the Super League www.superleaguegreece.net Panionios midfielder Vassilis Bouzas pointed out that "we made it through a really difficult year; we faced many problems and huge hardships that we finally managed to overcome united". The 21-year-old player also highlighted that "Panionios is still alive and breathing thanks to its players that helped the club and continue to help it and will also help it in the future so it can overcome the bad situation it's facing at the moment." The full interview:
Panionios managed to secure its staying in the league. How would you describe the season that just wrapped up? Was it a successful season for your club?
We made it through a really difficult year; we faced many problems and huge hardships that we finally managed to overcome united. Panionios does not deserve being in a position in which it just aims at not being relegated, however the problems we face as a club are big and therefore the non-relegation was a success for us.
What are the hardships you faced as a club this past season?
We faced several problems. Among them the poor conditions as regards the infrastructures and the stadium that only met the minimum needs and were really dangerous and could lead to injuries. Another significant problem was the financial issue; many players that commuted to the training, couldn't even afford to buy their tickets.
Question by Vangelis Poulios
What can the fans of Panionios expect to see next season?
Although it's still too early, I will cautiously say that the fans o Panionios will see for another year players coming from the bosom of the club and fighting for it and in general a team that will do their best and fight to win each match so they can make the fans happy.
Panionios is one of the clubs that always helped and promoted young players. Is this the most important factor for a healthy club, in your opinion?
Panionios has until today promoted most of the best players in Greece and continuous undeterred. I believe that Panionios is still alive and breathing thanks to its players that helped the club and continue to help it and will also help it in the future so it can overcome the bad situation it's facing at the moment. Of course the people of the academies should be thanked, such as Mr Yannis Pavlopoulos because he discovers the talented players, as well as the coaches preparing those players and instilling in them the proper football education so they can be promoted to Panionios' first team. I therefore believe that yes, academies are the most important factor for a healthy club, but for Panionios who is in a difficult situation, they are much more than that, they are the club's "oxygen".
You come from the club's grassroots. What is the experience you gained by playing in the youth league?
The experience I gained is that I mainly learned the philosophy of the club, namely that you have to play with passion for your team, always try to play proper football and of course play to win.
What do you believe you need to do from now on in order to become a regular in the first team?
I need to work really hard, to improve daily and to prove to my coach that I deserve to be playing for the team.
Which player would you wish to be like and why?
I admire many players, but I mainly idolise players like Ryan Giggs and Paolo Maldini who were legends and symbols in their clubs. However, no matter how cliché this may sound, I do not wish to be like anyone of them; I just wish to have my own career and be myself.
Question by Vassilis Tsakiridis
What would you advise young school students who say that they do not need to go to college since they will become professional football players?
I would remind them that these two are not associated at all because no matter how certain they are that they become professional football players, education is always important so they can become smart and better people. Moreover, they are still young and no one can guarantee them that they will become professional football players, therefore it would be a mistake to give up on school for something uncertain. The ideal would be to combine school with sports (a healthy mind in a healthy body).
Were you not a footballer, what would you rather be and why?
I would have liked to be a civil engineer.