Andreas Govas has spent a lot of his developmental years as a footballer in three different footballing cultures, England, Greece, and France. At 22, he knows how important it is to be playing first team football on a consistent basis. The real question for him is, where he will do this? With interest abroad mixed with a desire to play in his homeland, only time will tell where football will take him next. OS Aussies caught up with Andreas to discuss this and more.
You’ve played in England, Greece, and France. Can you tell us about your experiences in each country?
Moving to England was the first time I had ever been away from my family and I was only 17 at the time. It was hard at first but once I settled into my routine it became easier. I learned quickly that the English game is much faster than what I was used to back home. The academy manager at Portsmouth at the time Paul Hart had a real “old school”/disciplined approach; clean shaven, black boots only, socks up to the knees that kind of thing. It was hard but what I learned during my time there is etched into my core and those footballing values I still carry today.
One of my best memories was in one training session with the first team where I scored from distance against David James. Also, it was great playing in the reserves with and against the likes of Craig Bellamy, Patrick Berger, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Matthew Taylor and Pedro Mendes. It was a great time to be part of the club during that season because we won the F.A cup.
I really enjoyed living and playing in Greece particularly while at Kavala where for a time there was an “Aussie connection” with Craig Moore, Paul Giannou and Zeljko Kalac. It was difficult at times though being there as the economic crisis was unravelling.
My best memory was playing against Panathinaikos which included the likes of Djibril Cisse, Luis Garcia, Sidney Govou and Giourkas Seitaridis in the Greek Cup. Another great memory was one league match while playing for Kozani we came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against our rivals Eordaikos, I scored the first goal and gave the assist for the second.
I didn’t know what to expect when I went to Troyes. Arriving in the city I was amazed to see the standard of players that were playing in the second tier as well as the level of professionalism and quality of the coaching staff. The club was extremely well-organised, had an impressive stadium and brilliant facilities so when they offered me a contract I was very happy.
It was hard to break into the first eleven as the team was playing very well and on course for promotion. I improved a lot technically and physically, I made a lot of good friends and enjoyed living in France as well as learning the language, I really enjoyed my football as well there and was disappointed that they didn’t extend my contract but it was understandable as the team had just got promoted and they would be looking to get in more older and experienced players. They really made me feel like part of the family and I wish them all the best in Ligue 1.
My best memory was celebrating with my team mates when we got promoted, but overall my whole time at Troyes was amazing.
What has been the hardest thing about your journey in Europe? And the best?
How would you describe yourself as a player?
I would describe myself as mentally strong, I am more a technical/creative kind of player that can be dangerous when shooting from distance and I am quite composed on the ball.
My aim for this season is to sign for a club where I will get as much game time as possible and prove my worth. I am very hungry to prove myself. There is interest from clubs in Europe but I am just weighing up all my options
I am a Melbourne boy so I want both Melbourne clubs to do well. Returning home to play in the A-League is very appealing to me, the level of the A-League is going from strength to strength and it is something I would like to be a part of. Walking out onto the pitch in front of a home crowd would be a massive thrill.
Playing for the Australian senior national team has always been my dream. I am very proud that I was able to represent both Greece and Australia at youth level. I am fiercely proud of my Greek heritage and lived there for many years, so being asked to choose between Greece and Australia is like someone asking me which parent do you love more? But if it came down to it, I would chose Australia because I was born and raised here and I feel as though I want to give something back to the game.
Do you think with a full season or two of first team football that you could fight for a place in the national team? Or do you not really think about it at this stage?
Yes of course I have thought about it. It would be a dream come true if I were to receive and invitation to represent the national team. Throughout my career I have been setting short term goals that allow me to improve and better myself so that one day my dream of wearing the Green and Gold becomes a reality. I hope that with a couple of years of consistent playing week in week out that I will be considered for national team selection.
What advice would you give other young Aussies heading abroad to crack Europe?
I would advise them to make sure they are ready mentally and physically, the demands of training every day at professional level are very high and your body must be able to cope, as opportunities are few and injuries can really set you back. Most important of all is perseverance I believe a very small percentage of players make it just because of how talented they are and the rest make it because after every disappointment or difficulty they encounter, they persevere and get through it, life wasn’t meant to be easy and football wasn’t either. Give it everything you got so that you don’t ever have any regrets.
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