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30.07.2013, 07:51
Many new faces in Dinamo Minsk
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Slovenian national team head coach Denič at the helm of the Belarusian champions
 

Many new faces in Dinamo Minsk

The summer vacations are over and now it is time to get ready for the new season. It has already been two weeks since Dinamo Minsk started their pre-season camp. The reigning champions of Belarus mostly work in Staiki, a multi-functional sports complex just outside the Belarusian capital.

The Minsk team enter the new season with a new head coach. Sergej Bebeshko, who had been at the helm of the team since December 2009, returned to his native Ukraine, where he currently leads HC Motor Zaporozhye.

His successor in Minsk is Slovenian Boris Denič. The 45-year-old  coach is still adapting to his new club but already looks quite happy. “I am satisfied with the conditions here. I have everything that I need for my job. The preparation started not long ago, and most players are not yet in their best shape. But we still have enough time,” he said.

Goals for the new season are quite obvious for Denič. “We must win the Belarusian league, the national  cup and play in the group stage of the Champions League”, says the Slovenian.

At the domestic level, Dinamo are a major force and a favorite. But in the Champions League, the Minsk team have to get through the qualifying round first. On 31 August, Dinamo is scheduled to play against AEK Athens, and if the Belarusians win, they will face the winner of the pair Tatran Prešov vs Besiktas JK on the following day.

Is there enough time to get ready in the best way? Denič is quite optimistic: “I must have enough time. And I am not concentrating on the opponents, just on my team. We need to work hard, because the players have to understand my system”.

Two jobs for Denić

Being a head coach of Dinamo is not the only job for Denič. He continues to work with the national men’s team of Slovenia that surprisingly failed to qualify for the EHF EURO’2014. It is interesting that the Slovenians lost the crucial group game at home to… Belarus.

“It was a big disappointment. It is not normal when you lose, especially in the Balcans. But what can I do? I tried my best and wanted to prepare my team as well as possible. However, the Belarusians were better. Congratulations,” says Denič.

At the moment, the Slovenian has two jobs in two different countries, but in his opinion, it should not be a big problem: “After all, many coaches nowadays are working in this way. Just look at Manolo Cadenas who is a head coach of both Spain and Wisla Plock. He is seven years older than me, so if he can do it, why I can not?”

Rutenka’s advice

The Belarusian champion have not only a new coach, but also many new players in the squad. Most of them are foreign: Dejan Bombac, Uroš Bungalo and David Miklavčič come from Slovenia, Ivan Ninčević from Croatia, Damir Doborac from Bosnia, Mikel Aguirrezabalaga  from Spain, and last but not least, there are two Russian players — Sergey Shelmenko and Eldar Nasyrov.

A Spanish international left back Aguirrezabalaga stands out in this list as he spent two previous years at FC Barcelona, one of the strongest clubs in Europe. But after the Catalans had signed Nikola Karabatic, the 29-year-old Basque had to look for playing practice elsewhere. And he chose Dinamo Minsk — very much following the advice of his friend and ex-teammate, Belarusian international Siarhei Rutenka.

“Siarhei assured me that I would feel comfortable in Minsk — a nice city, a strong team. Besides, I want to play in the Champions League again,” said Aguirrezabalaga.

Russians in Minsk

Eldar Nasyrov from Russia previously played in Neva St. Petersburg. The left back is sure that his transfer to Dinamo Minsk is a step forward: “My new team have a foreign coach with big experience. I will try to learn something from him as I am eager to to improve as a player and help the team to get good results. I did not want to stagnate, that is why I took this challenge. I think that Dinamo have more opportunities than Neva”.

Another Russian player Sergiy Shelmenko moved to Minsk for quite different reasons. He would prefer to stay in Chekhov where he owns a house after playing there for four seasons.

But as Chekhovskie Medvedi struggle with financial problems, the 30-year-old Ukranian-born right back had to search for another club, just like most of his ex-teammates. Sergey had a very lucrative offer from another Belarusian club, HC Meshkov Brest, but chose Dinamo.

“Money is not always the main factor. I do not want to say anything bad about Brest. That club is good, it develops well. Bit in terms of sports level, Dinamo Minsk take the second place now in the ex-Soviet Union after Chekhovskie Medvedi.  Money is invested here, high-skilled foreign players are invited. And there is a chance to play in the Champions League,” Shelmenko explains his choice.


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / br
 
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