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A magical week for Otar Ketishvili on the pitch and in the dressing room

A magical week for Otar Ketishvili on the pitch and in the dressing room

This Storm team is truly legendary. If the final step toward a championship title is successful, many more dual champions will find their way into the circle of all-time greats. Accompanied by many memories and stories that were imprinted in the collective memory.

It is very likely that in a decade or two the following question will be discussed among Sturm's fans: “Do you remember how the Kite returned to enthusiasm when everything was at stake?” This goes to Otar Ketishvili, who was one of those off the field we had a magical week of work.

His emotional wake-up call in the dressing room in light of a 0-1 first-half deficit in the cup win against Rapid has already sealed his chapter in Sturm's history. The goal came in a 1-1 equalizer against Hartberg on Sunday – a goal whose importance cannot be overstated.

Cabin sermon? “Sometimes words like these are necessary.”

“That goal speaks volumes. “It was a fantastic effort in terms of will, and the way he followed up on the rebound,” praised Sport Managing Director Andreas Schecker. “I tried to dribble after I got the ball and gain space as quickly as I could,” says Ketishvili himself. “I really wanted to cope with Mika Pérez but I couldn't do it. I got the ball back and had to finish the game.”

With the same calmness with which the European Championship participant with Georgia spoke about this individual performance, one cannot imagine that the same person, along with Gregory Wuterich, led an entire team away four days ago, so that coach Christian Ilzer alone did not talk about the “transformation ” a point”. .

“The conclusion is emotional,” Ketishvili explains dryly. “Sometimes such words are necessary. We were not good enough in the first half and we needed more strength to shine on the pitch.

The 28-year-old's words did not fail to make an impact. “Cup final, 30,000 spectators, 1-0 down against Rapid – this is exactly the time when you need leaders who are there in the difficult moments,” explains Sheker.

The sporting director confirms that in addition to Kitishvili, Sturm will have other leaders with similar behavior as Wuterich, such as John Gorenc Stankovic and Dimitri Lavelli. “They're not the big speakers, but when the quieter ones say something, they have power,” says Sheker, who was still banned from participating in the cup final and was therefore unable to be in the dressing room as an ear witness. But of course he heard about it from stories: “It seemed like he looked it up and found the right words.”

Like many things in life, motivational speeches like this are a matter of timing. There must be enough chatter in football dressing rooms. Sheker: “I am not a fan of leaders who always open their mouths and know everything better. Feeling the right time to say something is also an advantage.”

Will Ketishvili stay or leave?

How long will this quality be available in the person of Kiteishvili, Sturm has always been a source of much speculation among fans. The playmaker, who has been working in Graz since 2018, is out of contract. No decision has been made about the future yet.

“It's not out of the question,” says Sheker, who does not give up hope of survival and reports on the relationship of trust he has with Kate. The 37-year-old promises: “We will try everything, but we have our limits even if we participate in the Champions League. Awtar knows that. We'll see if we can still do it. Anyway, we'll lean in and try everything.

If the jump to the top flight is successful, that would likely be an excellent argument for Sturm. But victory is still missing to secure this big goal. Accordingly, contract discussions are not currently the focus. “This topic again,” Ketishvili smiled when asked about his future.

On days like this, he only cares about one thing: “I want us to win this title!” Since I've been at Sturm, we've never been able to win the championship. “This is our dream, we are very close to the dream and this is what it is all about now.” Anyone who experiences Ketishvili's determination with these words understands that he can swear others on target.