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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uhrin Brought In to Revive Dinamo Tbilisi

TBILISI, Georgia -- While many men of 63 are either retired or looking forward to putting their feet up, former Czech Republic coach Dusan Uhrin still has a young man's hunger for success.

Uhrin, who has coached clubs and national teams in Sweden, Cyprus, Israel, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and the Czech Republic, is now enjoying the latest stop on his soccer odyssey -- coaching Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia.

"I've always liked warm weather," said the charismatic, tanned, Czech in an interview at Dinamo's training facility in central Tbilisi.

Slovakian-born Uhrin said he was not scared of traveling thousands of miles away from his home to the small Caucasus country, still in the grip of unresolved separatist conflicts.

"I've worked all over the world. I had some offers from Russian clubs as well as national teams in Bahrain and Belarus, but I decided to come here.

"Dinamo is the biggest club in Georgia. It is well known around Europe. It didn't take me long to agree a deal after I'd seen the training facilities and was told about the ambitious program of reviving this great club."

Founded in 1925, Dinamo Tbilisi was one of the most popular clubs in the former Soviet Union, winning the championship in 1964 and 1978 and the Soviet Cup in 1976 and 1979.

The team captured a huge scalp in 1979 when they knocked Liverpool out of the first round of the European Cup 4-2 on aggregate, and in 1981 they scored their biggest success when they beat East Germans Carl Zeiss Jena 2-1 to win the old European Cup Winners' Cup and become only the second Soviet club to lift a European trophy.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Dinamo dominated Georgia's championship, winning 10 consecutive titles between 1990 and 2000. But they have not had things all their own way since then.

The Interior Ministry took over the running of the club in 2003 after former Dinamo president Merab Zhordaniya was arrested and charged with evading almost $400,000 in taxes.

The charges were later dropped, but Dinamo's financial problems remained. Things began to change after Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili bought the club three years ago and Dinamo won the title again in 2005.

Uhrin is eager to turn around the club's fortunes and has made a bright start since arriving last month.

"But Dinamo are used to winning titles, so anything less than a top three finish would be considered a failure."

The most memorable achievement in his long career was leading the Czechs to the runners-up spot in Euro 96 in England, where they lost to Germany after conceding a "golden goal" in extra time.

Uhrin smiled when asked if he wanted to emulate the success of fellow Czech coach Vlastimil Petrzela, who guided Zenit St. Petersburg to second place in the Russian League in his first season at the helm in 2003.

"Oh, Petrzela! He used to play for me back then in Czechoslovakia, so I know him well. He did a good job with Zenit but I'm not under any pressure to match his success.

"We have a very young team here with eight players under 21. Technically they are very good: Tactically and physically they are also not far behind most European clubs," he said.

"But the mental part of their game needs to improve. They have to become more professional, so it's going to take time for me to change that and make a difference."