New coach, new hopes for Ukraine

EHF / ts

New coach, new hopes for Ukraine

Some time has passed since Ukraine’s men’s team was last part of an EHF EURO event in 2010.

But after failing to qualify for the two most recent major championships, the EHF EURO 2014 and the World Championship, Ukraine are determined to put an end to this series.

Head coach Andrey Portnoy has stepped down and made way for 42-year-old Vitaly Andronov, who was presented as new head coach just before the start of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification.

After Ukraine’s Round 1 match against Russia was postponed because of the political situation in both countries, the team starts its campaign with a match against Hungary on 2 November.

"At the moment I’m just the interim coach, but being national team coach is the highest point you can reach in our profession," says Andronov.

"I feel a huge responsibility and I have a lot of things to do, because my nomination literally came in the very last moment."

As a player Andronov won bronze at the Junior World Championship 1990 in Athens with the Soviet Union team and participated in the 1996 EHF Cup Final with Schachtjor Donetsk against BM Granollers.

His coaching career started in 2006 as assistant at Portovik where he won the domestic championship straight away.

He was also a coach of the Ukrainian junior’s team in 2009 and his most recent stint was with St. Petersburg women’s side Kirovchanka three years ago.

His new assistants in the national team are Borys Chyzhov and Mykhaylo Ishchenko, who continue to train the Ukrainian goalkeepers.

Only one task

Andronov and his assistants have nominated 20 players for the start of the qualification with half of the nominated players representing Ukrainian champions Motor Zaporozhye, while none of the nominees play for the second Ukrainian powerhouse Zaporozhye ZTR.

Neither last year’s first-choice goalkeeper Genadiy Komok nor Maxym Karamyshev, one of the best scorers in the domestic championship, have been nominated. Also missing is Vladislav Ostroushko, who plays for Hungarian side Csurgoi, and who was Ukraine’s best scorer in the qualification for the EHF EURO 2014.

An additional headache for Andronov is the three-match ban for line player Olexander Shevelev from Motor.

"There is only one task for us which is getting a ticket to Poland .

"At least, I would like to achieve this goal and I hope the guys want, too. And oddly enough, we have the players who can reach this objective," said Andronov in interview with TV channel Xsport.

"We have respect for the Hungarian team as well as for their coach Talant Dujshebaev, but we are professionals and have been preparing like professionals. What can we achieve, we will see on the court on Sunday evening," said Kostyantyn Kurylenko, who at the age of 34, is likely to celebrate his national team debut.

The head-to-head statistics against Hungary are not positive as Ukraine lost all four competitive  matches that have been played between the two teams to date.

The Ukrainian roster for the EHF EURO qualification match against Hungary:

Goalkeepers: Valentyn Koshovy (Motor Zaporozhye), Igor Chupryna (Lokomotiv Chelyabinsk, RUS), Bogdan Panchenko (CSKA Kiev)

Field players: Ievgen Zhuk, Artem Kozakevych, Iurii Kubatko, Kostyantiyn Kurilenko, Sergii Burka, Sergii Onufriyenko, Mykola Stetsyura, Dmytro Doroshchuk, Stanislav Zhukov (all – Motor Zaporozhye), Dmytro Tiutiunnyk, Serhii Dubovyk, Andriy Basarab (all CSKA Kiev), Zakhar Denysov, Eduard Zakharov, Olexandr Poltoratskyi (all Portovik Yuzhny), Mykhaylo Tsap (Calarasi, ROM) and Yuriy Mankovskyy (Anafen Koleji, TUR)

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