A new direction for Motor
After three defeats in a row in the Men’s EHF Cup, HC Motor Zaporozhye’s management have decided to part ways with their Russian head coach Nikolay Chigarev and his assistant Yuriy Kidyaev.
Nikolay Stepanets will be acting as the interim coach, with his contact due to last until the end of season.
47-year-old Ukranian Stepanets, previously worked as Motor’s assistant coach for two seasons between June 2010 and May 2012.
His playing career started in his home town of Brovary bfore moving to Kiev to play for SCA and from 1991 until 1998 for Tunisian club Etoual Sportiv du Sahel, a club he eventually coached.
Stepanets’ final playing season was in Qatar, where he played the 1999/00 season with Al Sadd Sports Club.
Before his first head coach role, he was part of coaching staff at Brovary.
His head coaching debut was in 2004 with Tunisian club Monastir and the following season he coached another Tunisian team, Beni Khiar.
Stepanets’ third season in Tunisia brought him second place in the national championship and League Cup with Etoual Sportiv du Sahel, the club he used to play for.
After his second spell in Tunisia ended, he was appointed head coach at Budivelnik Brovary, where he had two stints from June 2007 to December 2009 and September 2012 to February 2013.
“The offer to coach Motor was a big surprise for me.
“Before agreeing I thought a lot. I know that Motor’s management sets only the highest goals, they want to be number one in every game, in every competition,” said Stepanets.
Nikolay Pluiko will be the only assistant for the new coach and will work with the goalkeepers.
Stepanets enjoyed a successful start to his new role, beating current leader of national championship ZTR Zaporozhye 32:26 and followed that with another victory against Portovik 26:23.
Motor’s new coach will face his first European challenge on 9 March in Slovakia against TATRAN Presov.
After three matches in Group B of the EHF Cup Group Phase, the Slovakian champions have recorded just one victory, 32:27 in Zaporozhye, and lie in third position behind Danish club KIF Kolding and Germany’s Rhein Neckar Löwen.
The game will be live on ehfTV at 20:30 CET on Saturday, 9 March.
TEXT: Igor Grachov / cor