Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Debutant Byshovets Takes Center Stage




Anatoly Byshovets will make his Russian head coaching debut Wednesday against Sweden in the first and last test for the national team before the start of Euro 2000 qualifiers in two weeks.


The friendly in Orebro may also be the only chance for several aging veterans, recently recalled to the Russian team by Byshovets, to prove themselves on the national level.


Midfielders Igor Shalimov of Napoli, Andrei Kanchelskis of Glasgow Rangers, Celta's Alexander Mostovoi and Valery Karpin, Igor Dobrovolsky of Germany's Fortuna Dusseldorf, goalkeeper Dmitry Kharin of Chelsea and striker Sergei Kiryakov of Hamburg, all of whom have been dropped from the national squad at some point during the past two years, will be looking to make a favorable impression.


"We are taking a step backward so that later we can make two steps forward," Byshovets said on Monday from the team's training camp in Novogorsk.


"My number one job right now is the revival of Russian soccer and its national team. Birch [trees] are wonderful but we need something more substantial like morality and professionalism inside the team. This is the main reason for inviting all these veterans back."


Ukrainian-born Byshovets, 52, who last month signed a four-year contract to become Russia's fourth national manager since 1994, said he didn't hesitate to bring back any of these players.


"Although I can foresee a problem of mixing two different groups of players, veteran foreign-based and younger domestic, on the same team," he said. "My task is to find a peaceful coexistence between youth and experience."


For many veteran players the recall means a last chance to prove their doubters wrong.


"First of all, we decided to come back because we really want to prove something not only to Russian soccer officials but to ourselves and our fans," said Shalimov, who made his national team debut for the Soviet Union at the 1990 World Cup finals.


"During the last two years our soccer hit an all-time low, and now we want to help this team to establish itself once again in the international arena," he added.


The 29-year-old former national captain, who played under Valery Lobanovsky, Pavel Sadyrin, Oleg Romantsev and Boris Ignatiev, also said that the major reason for his return was the opportunity to work with Russia's new manager.


"Unlike all the previous national coaches he is truly an independent person, who makes his own decisions," Shalimov said.


Sweden, which also missed the World Cup this summer, heads toward its final tune-up relying mostly on experience as well.


While a couple of former stars, notably Martin Dahlin and Tomas Brolin, have announced their retirement from the national team, the Swedes, who start their Euro 2000 campaign against England on Sept. 5, still can count on veterans Kennet Andersson of Bolognia, Valencia's Stefen Schwarz, Henrik Larsson of Glasgow Celtic.