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Ketsbaia Vs Mourinho

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As a player Temuri Ketsbaia might not have immediately suggested himself as a top European coach in waiting.

 

Ten years ago the shaven-headed Georgian with the deep-set eyes scored for Newcastle against Bolton. What followed turned Ketsbaia into a cult hero on Tyneside.

 

He ripped off his shirt, ran over to an advertising board and kicked it repeatedly while also trying to remove his boots. He kicked the hoarding with such ferocity he later learned he had broken his toe.

 

After three years at Newcastle, Ketsbaia spent two undistinguished seasons, at Wolves and Dundee, before a switch in 2002 to become Anorthosis Famagusta's player-coach, before concentrating solely on management, in 2004.

 

Ever since, the Cypriot club have been on an upward trajectory in which the 40-year-old has masterminded one of the most remarkable Champions League qualifying campaigns in the history of the competition.

 

On Wednesday, Ketsbaia faces his greatest coaching test, when he comes up against one of Europe's best in Inter Milan's Jose Mourinho.

 

It is a mark of the progress Famagusta have made under Ketsbaia that the two clubs meet with the Cypriots ahead of the Serie A side in Group B on goal difference.

 

Not that Ketsbaia will approach Wednesday's game with any trepidation.

How can he, when his thoughts are as much with his family in Georgia, who have been affected by the ongoing dispute with Russia, as they are on Champions League qualification?

 

"My family lived in Abkhazia they lost everything," Ketsbaia told BBC Sport.

"We want to live a normal life but we can't. It hurts.

"My family are going from country to country like refugees. I don't know what to think.

"I care about my country and my people. I left Georgia 17 years ago so I have not exper

ienced the war back home. It affects me.

"It makes it hard to think clearly about football when you see in your country, your people and your family are suffering from the war but I can't do anything.

"I just have to continue to do my job and make people in Georgia proud of me. It's important for me to know that I'm in the Champions League and that makes people proud in Georgia."

Having drawn with Werder Bremen and beaten Panathinaikos, Famagusta a small club, who are now based out of Larnaca, have spent this season's competition disproving the notion that size matters.

"We are not here by accident, we are here because we have worked hard and to have the opportunity to play in Milan is something that was once difficult to imagine," said Ketsbaia.

 

"We brought in a lot of players in the summer and after going so close, so many times it's amazing to finally achieve our goal."

 

During his time at Famagusta, Ketsbaia has guided the club to two league titles, one Cypriot cup and the Cypriot Super Cup.

Working to a budget that is dwarfed by most of the other clubs in the Champions League, Ketsbaia has taken the club into the group stages of the competition for the first time in their history.

 

Famagusta is a team made up of experienced foreign professionals who find themselves in the twilight of their football careers.

Ketsbaia bought 12 new faces to the club in the summer, with former Real Madrid and Brazilian winger Sávio perhaps their most famous foreign import.

 

But they also include an Albanian keeper, defenders from France, the Netherlands and Greece, midfielders from France, Brazil and Portugal along with a Polish striker.

 

Sheffield United fans will remember defender Traianos Dellas, who has 50 caps for Greece, from his two-year spell at Bramall Lane, while captain Nikos Nikolaou has 27 caps for Cyprus.

 

Famagusta were nearly £4m in debt before the start of the season, but with the money they will earn from their experiences in Europe, they can look forward to life in the black as they aim to improve their training facilities, develop their stadium and strengthen their squad.

The current playing budget is about £4m, with their most expensive player earning about £8,000 a week.

"Money is so important in football now, it's crazy," said Ketsbaia.

 

"If people want to spend their own money, let them do it, but if they are borrowing money they don't have then that is crazy.

"Football is not immune to the crisis all over the world. Money is destroying football."

 

Money may not be his primary motivation, but Ketsbaia is hugely ambitious and he talks openly about a return to Tyneside one day to manage a club he cares deeply for.

 

"As a player I had a dream to move to big clubs and I did that - as a manager that dream is no different," he commented.

"If I get the chance to move to a bigger club in a bigger country then of course I would take it.

 

"It was a great opportunity for me to play for Newcastle and if the chance came up to manage them then I wouldn't say no."

Ketsbaia remembers fondly his days at Newcastle. His time at the club coincided with a period when things were going very well, both on and off the pitch.

 

While at St James' Park, Ketsbaia played in two FA Cup finals and was part of the side that appeared in the Champions League.

With Newcastle struggling amid all the boardroom upheaval, those days seem a long way away.

 

"The fans have suffered over the years and I wish things would settle down for them. They alone deserve to win something," said Ketsbaia, who - 10 years on - still dislikes talking about that moment of emotional madness.

 

"People always mention the goal celebration but I want to just forget about it," he revealed.

"It was a bad moment for me and I was having a lot of problems. Sometime you do things when you are frustrated and I just want to leave it in the past."

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I'd have him as our next permanent manager if we're quite a way out the shite once the takeover is done.

I'd love to have Ketsbaia as our manager but only once things are stabilised.

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I'd have him now to be honest. Think the sig conveys my thoughts accurately on the subject.

 

Won't happen though so wish him luck for his CL campaign and when (if?) Ashley ever ships out I hope he gives us a call.

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2051: GOAL Anorthosis Famagusta 3-2 Inter Milan

Jose Mourinho - oh dear. Temuri Ketsbaia - get excited. Nicolas Burdisso makes a hash of clearing a first-time cross and Nikolaos Frousos takes full advantage, smashing a low shot into the corner of the net.

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Jammy bastards have made it 3-3.

 

That's still a massive result mind although I think Ketsbaia will be angry not to have pulled off the win.

Deco sent off for Chelsea cheaters also. I don't think there's a footballer on earth who I love to see getting marching orders more than Deco.

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Jammy bastards have made it 3-3.

 

That's still a massive result mind although I think Ketsbaia will be angry not to have pulled off the win.

Deco sent off for Chelsea cheaters also. I don't think there's a footballer on earth who I love to see getting marching orders more than Deco.

 

Booked for a bad tackle, then booked again for complaining to the ref.

 

Now why can't the refs in the EPL do the same? :D

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93rd minute soft as shite penalty for Liverpool, STEEEEEVIE GEEEEEEEE SCORES OH BOY! WOW! TOTALLY AMAZING! I NEVER WOULD'VE GUESSED!

 

This happens every game, can somebody not put a stop to it? Every time they're heading towards the wrong result in injury time, some bullshit like this happens.

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93rd minute soft as shite penalty for Liverpool, STEEEEEVIE GEEEEEEEE SCORES OH BOY! WOW! TOTALLY AMAZING! I NEVER WOULD'VE GUESSED!

 

This happens every game, can somebody not put a stop to it? Every time they're heading towards the wrong result in injury time, some bullshit like this happens.

 

It's fucking unreal man. Every fucking time. He was heading the ball nowhere and just threw his head back as the challenge came in...PEN!!

 

Softest pen I've seen this season.

 

They say the CL isn't fixed. :D

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Derdiyok has scored at the Camp Nou to make it 1-1. I wonder who we should've paid 5mil for, him or Xisco...

 

Id been sayin this for months

 

...and I started it. :D

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