Blokhin back in charge of Ukraine
Oleg Blokhin will take charge...
Oleg Blokhin will take charge of the Ukraine national team for the second time after being unveiled as the UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts` new coach, according to FFU inform-service.
Blokhin, who enjoyed a successful first spell in the post, between 2003 and 2007, beat off stiff competition for the role, including prospective candidates Yuriy Kalitvintsev, the caretaker coach, and the tactician in charge of the Ukrainian Under-21 side Pavlo Yakovenko.
The 58-year-old former Ballon d`Or winner, who won 18 out of a possible 27 votes in the elections held by the FFU Executive Committee, guided Ukraine to the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals − their highest achievement on the international stage − before stepping down after his side failed in their bid to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008.
"We thank Yuriy Kalitvintsev for his good work and hope Oleg Blokhin can surpass his own achievements during his previous spell in charge of Ukraine," said FFU president Grigoriy Surkis.
"Our time is very limited and the players should prove their right to play in the national team in every game," said Blokhin. "Our task is to win the championship but we should bear in mind that there will be at least ten other very strong contenders. Apart from Brazil and Argentina, all the strongest national teams in world football are based in Europe, that is why we should first focus on the "compulsory programme" - qualifying from the group stage."
The former PAOK, AEK Athens FC and FC Moskva coach added: "We have many talented players, but the youngsters often lack consistency at the top level. I think we should have a balanced team with a proper mix of young and experienced players."
Blokhin`s first task will be to prepare for his side`s forthcoming friendly against Uzbekistan in Kiev on 1 June, with France their next opponents at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk five days later.