AGONA Profile: Nikos Kostenoglou, the man to lead AEK forward to better times
The AGONA Profile focuses on Nikos Kostenoglou, who was recently handed the permanent role of the AEK head coach.
What a turbulent summer it has been for AEK. Initially, the Enosis began the season with newly-appointed Miguel Cardoso in charge, but the Portuguese manager was promptly dismissed in late August after a terrible start to the campaign. Kostenoglou received the role of the temporary head coach, but after he steered the team to two consecutive wins, AEK technical director Ilija Ivic decided to give him the job on a full-time basis.
Kostenoglou, now 48, only represented two clubs as a player: Xanthi and AEK. Playing as a centre-back, Kostenoglou was a professional between 1988 and 2005, retiring as an AEK player. With AEK, he won the Greek Cup on four occasions (1996, 1997, 2000 and 2002), while also claiming the now defunct Super Cup in 1996.
BUSY COACHING CAREER
Kostenoglou began his coaching journey in July 2007 by becoming the AEK assistant manager. Midway through the season in February 2018, he was then promoted to the position of head coach, remaining in the hot-seat until the campaign ended. Kostenoglou managed 18 games during that period of time, gaining a points-per-game average of 1.94.
The Greek manager has since coached a further seven different clubs.
Overall, aside from his jobs at AEK, Kostenoglou has been the head coach of Asteras Tripolis, AE Larissa, Xanthi, Anorthosis Famagusta, Apollon Smyrnis, Aris and Doxa Drama, while also serving as the assistant manager to the Greek national team boss from February 2015 to August 2015.
WORST SPELL AT ANORTHOSIS
Without doubt, the worst stretch of his coaching career so far was witnessed in Cyprus.
In February 2014, Kostenoglou became the Anorthosis Famagusta manager, but it turned out to be a disastrous move. Staying with the Cypriots until May of the same year, he oversaw 16 games, picking up a miserable points average of 0.31 while losing 13 times and only tallying the one victory.
Statistically, his best achievements came at Aris, earning an average of 2.44 points per game with the Thessaloniki-based club from February 2017 to July 2017.
RETURN TO AEK IN 2019
Kostenoglou has been working in the AEK organisation since February, when he was named the academy director and the head coach of the under 19 side. He had also previously managed the first team for a second time between October 2011 and June 2012 (38 games, 1.42 points average).
His extensive knowledge of the club and his understanding of what AEK stand for should help him be successful. Kostenoglou has been an instant hit with this set of players too.
According to reports, AEK players personally requested for the management to keep Kostenoglou as head coach, with the squad having been impressed with his approach. You can’t help but notice the huge difference between AEK’s showings with Cardoso and under the leadership of Kostenoglou. In such a short space of time, he has managed to make the players a united unit again, an achievement which was appreciated by Ivic and club supremo Dimitris Melissanidis.
The real tests for Kostenoglou at AEK are still yet to come, with the upcoming derby against PAOK on matchday five of the Super League a date to note in your diaries.