Old Hand Takes Over At Ukrainian Champs

APSyomin a t his presentation in Kiev.
KIEV -- Former Russia manager Yury Syomin has been appointed Dinamo Kiev coach, the Ukrainian champion said Saturday.

Club president Igor Surkis installed Syomin in place of acting coach Oleg Luzhny, who guided Dinamo to the Ukrainian Cup semifinals with a 3-2 aggregate win over Tavria Simferopol on Saturday.

Syomin, 60, becomes Dinamo's fourth coach in less than three months after Anatoly Demyanenko, Josef Sabo and Luzhny all failed to revive the struggling club.

Dinamo, Ukraine's most successful and popular club with 12 league titles since 1993, is having a dismal year, both domestically and in Europe.

The team has already been eliminated from the Champions League after losing all five of their matches in Group F, conceding 16 goals and scoring only four.

In the Ukrainian league, they are tied for fourth place midway through the season.

"[Syomin's] priority will be to improve the team's performance so that they are not shamed at international level," Surkis said.

Syomin, who quit as Russia coach after failing to guide it to the 2006 World Cup finals, was sacked as Lokomotiv Moscow president last month after the Russian Premier League club endured the most disappointing season in its recent history.

Before his stint as national coach, he had a successful 16-year coaching career at Lokomotiv, leading the railway side to two national titles from 2002 to 2004.

"I don't think Dinamo is in a big hole," said Syomin, who will begin his work in Kiev next month.

"They are a great club with a strong tradition, and I'm looking forward to improving their form in the second part of the season."