Published: Saturday, 21 January 2017 10:30

KAZAKHSTAN – RUSSIA

   

Final match

January 21th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 6500 spectators

Best players: Seidakhmet, Kakkoev

 

Post match comments

Alexander Kuznetsov, Head coach of team Kazakhstan:

– First of all, I would like to thank the Organizing Committee for such a great tournament. Everything was at a high level, and they’ve done an enormous work. Congratulations to team Russia on a win! As for my boys, I can only be proud of them. They should keep their heads up, but also they should be humble. Today we aimed only at a victory, like we did in the games before. Of course, we were nervous before the match, as it was the final that we played against the team that represents the host country of the tournament. We did not act like as we planned in the first half, and I was forced to shout at my players a bit in the half-time. But in the second half I saw the game I wanted to see. I think the teams were equal in that part of the match, and we also had chances to score.

– Number 7 and number 9 were notable in your team. Do you depend on them a lot?

– Absolutely no! I already said that it is the team that matters for me. It is the team that is playing, and we do have substitutes in case we need to make changes. I don’t have any favorite players. If someone does not follow coaches’ rules, we will find other one who will be more dutiful. Moreover, I had said that Astana did not let some of the strong players participate here. Now the situation changed. Those players have competitors now! And it is not clear who will win this competition.

– Today you had lots of supporters…

– We are grateful to the spectators that supported us from the stands, from their houses in front of the screens. A huge official delegation representing Kazakhstan football arrived at Saint Petersburg, including the President Seilda Baishakov. The Council of Kazakhstan was also here. A lot of people.  The excitement about the tournament was enormous in our native Kazakhstan. They made posters and even talked about the broadcast on the First National Channel. Unfortunately, they did not have enough time to arrange it.

– The tournament ended. What do you have to say about the organization?

– I think I thanked and mentioned everyone! I will also say thank you for changing the tournament dates from the very beginning of the year to mid-January, because I was just recently appointed to head the team and I would have had to come here for the holidays, which I did not want! (smiling)

 

Mikhail Galaktionov, Head coach of team Russia:

– Not everything was fine with regard to the game quality, but I think we should not care much about this now. This was the final, and the guys were just great because of their patience and ability to turn the game around. Today we did not create a huge amount of moments, but we used the chance that we had. Congratulations to everyone on the win! Last year we did not succeed. Players born in 1996 became the European Champions. Year 1997 won the Granatkin Memorial. Now Year 1999 wrote their names in history.

– The match was very nervous and ended with a minimal score. Was it your opponent’s merit or was it your team that did not do their best?

– Both of that. Team Kazakhstan deserves to be in the final, they have good players and we were expecting that the match would be long and full of duels. But we also had certain problems today. We lacked sharpness at our rival’s goals. There are games when you just need to get a victory like this one, and that’s a good experience for the boys.

– Did your boys check how many liters of the “Baikal” lemonade can be put into the Cup?

– Or maybe they like “Tarkhun” more? We’ll look at it soon and we’ll check. I think they are professional enough to estimate the situation in the right way and think over the future victories. The season is only starting, and the qualification for the European Championship which will take place in the end of the year, is above all.

– The first and the last goals were scored by representatives of Saint Petersburg – by Nikita Glushkov and Nikita Polyakov. Both individual prizes went to the local players – to Stanislav Utkin and to Nikita Kakkoev…

– I think that it is symbolic.

– Would you mention some of your other players?

– That would not be right for me to do this. As for other teams, I liked one forward in Kazakhstan – he’s very quick, light and good with the ball. I think a great future awaits him. He only needs to keep working on himself. As for our team… Someone performed better, and someone played weaker. They are not stable, but they are very young. Kakkoev gained the prize as the best player of the tournament, and this shows that he performed consistently during the Granatkin Memorial.

– You complained about the fact that a lot of strong players born in 1999 did not have any chance to participate here…

– Right, there were approximately 14 of them, plus Rudenko, who got injured. The ones who played here proved that they can be counted on. Nobody can join the team for no reason, and the fair competitiveness reigns in our team. They will be graduates this year. They will leave academies for youth teams, and some of them will go to the main teams. The game practice will speak for itself. The schedule is very tight for the National team, everyone must progress and show his best.

– Does the timing of the tournament suit you?

– I have explained my point of view previously, and it is well-known in the Football Union of Russia. Duration of the tournament is very long, there are too many teams participating here. So the players are overloaded and there are more possibilities to be injured. That is also a reason for clubs for not letting the players come here. All of this should be changed – both timing and the number of teams. And I also will be glad to spend my holidays at home. (smiling)

– Can you say something about your future with this team?

– It is too early for that. I will have a serious conversation when I return to Moscow, and we will clarify on the path that we will take.

 

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