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  • Writer's pictureАнђела Петровски

Malesiada, A Greek Village that lives for football / Malesiada, Grčko selo koje živi za fudbal


Malesiada is a village in the mountains of Western Greece. Fewer than 300 people live there and most of them work in animal husbandry. What unites them is a love of Aris Malesiadas, the village’s football team that has been playing for 40 years.


Its story began back in the early 1980s, when a group of friends who were big fans of Nick Galis, the greatest basketball player in the history of Greece who at that time played for Aris Thessaloniki, decided to create their own Aris.


The first few years were very difficult. There was no pitch yet, and the players were forced to train in the muddy fields. Over the years, however, Aris became one of the best teams of the time, even coming close to being in the national divisions in the late 90s.


The team continued to operate until the end of the next decade. However, like several other clubs in the region, it stopped because of the great economic crisis that struck Greece, reducing the incomes of Greeks. The pitch gradually began to crumble. The grass covered the soil, the beams rusted and the platforms disappeared.


All this, however, until 2020, when a group of young residents of the village decided to re-establish it. Since then, Aris Malesiadas has played several matches every year with local teams. The village's stadium, which boasts views of three large, surrounding mountains, has returned to life.


Every match, whether summer or winter, is sold out. All residents of Malesiada love Aris. They wear their jerseys, they proudly hold their scarf. Football, after all, is an opportunity for everyone to come together, have fun, and talk with the team players.


The children of Malesiada are waiting for the moment when they will put on the yellow jersey and enter the stadium. This is, after all, their dream. Play for Aris. And when they do, they discuss it with their friends for months. It’s a village that lives to play and watch football.


Photo and text by Akis Katsoudas




 


Malesiada je selo u planinama zapadne Grčke. U njemu živi manje od 300 ljudi, a većina njih radi u stočarstvu. Ono što ih spaja je ljubav prema Arisu Malesijadasu, seoskom fudbalskom timu koji igra već 40 godina.


Njegova priča počela je još ranih 1980-ih, kada je grupa prijatelja koji su bili veliki fanovi Nika Galisa, najvećeg košarkaša u istoriji Grčke koji je u to vreme igrao za klub Aris iz Soluna, odlučila da napravi svoj Aris.


Prvih nekoliko godina bilo je veoma teško. Terena još nije bilo, a igrači su bili prinuđeni da treniraju po blatnjavim terenima. Tokom godina, međutim, Aris je postao jedan od najboljih timova tog vremena, čak i blizu toga da bude u nacionalnim divizijama kasnih 90-ih.


Tim je nastavio sa radom do kraja naredne decenije. Međutim, kao i nekoliko drugih klubova u regionu, stao je zbog velike ekonomske krize koja je zadesila Grčku, smanjivši primanja Grka. Teren je postepeno počeo da se ruši. Trava je prekrila tlo, grede su zarđale i platforme su nestale.


Sve to, međutim, sređuje se do 2020. godine, kada je grupa mladih meštana sela odlučila da ponovo osnuje klub. Od tada, Aris Malesiada igra nekoliko mečeva svake godine sa lokalnim timovima. Seoski stadion, sa koga se pruža pogled na tri velike, okolne planine, oživeo je.


Svaki meč, letnji ili zimski, je rasprodat. Svi stanovnici Malesiade vole Aris. Nose njen dres, ponosno drže njen šal. Fudbal je, ipak, prilika da se svi okupe, da se zabave, da razgovaraju sa igračima tima.


Mališani Malesiade čekaju trenutak kada će obući žuti dres i ući na stadion. Ovo je, na kraju krajeva, njihov san. Igrajte za Arisa. A kada to urade, mesecima o tome razgovaraju sa svojim prijateljima. To je selo koje živi da bi se igralo i gledalo fudbal.



Photo and text by Akis Katsoudas






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