Grigoriy Babayan: FC Astana showed that everyone needs to work according to modern European standards
Talgat Sadykov tricked Grigoriy Babayan into the first big interview in his life. Previously, a promising Kazakhstan coach tried to avoid such extensive communication with the press. Prosports.kz presents the full version of the revelations of a promising Kazakhstan coach.
18 November, 2018
“We have long been acquainted with Grigoriy Babayan, and when he took over the reins of FC Astana, it was nice that trust was placed on the local the flesh of the flesh of the people, to the specialist even with the prefix “acting”.
When I dialed his number last week, I asked for an interview and heard the answer: “I will come to Almaty next week, it will be possible to meet, although I am not a supporter of an interview, but I cannot refuse you.”
On Monday, snowfall fell on the southern capital. Having met Grigoriy in one of the five-star hotels in the city center, we heard loud music in the lobby. When I asked the staff why the music was playing (we were worried that it would create a background and prevent the recording of the conversation on the recorder), we heard: “The Armenian Embassy is having a reception, and they have a big party there.” Smiling, the tutor of the capital club said: “There will surely be a lot of my relatives, we must hide away.” And now, finding a place where the music was not audible, we started the conversation.
My interlocutor insisted that I share dinner with him and drink tea. And now the tea is poured into glasses, and readers of our newspaper can find out what Kazakhstan Mourinho is.
- Grigoriy Konstantinovich, Astana decided to share the winter with Almaty residents, and it turns out you brought it to us?
- Yes, for sure, they say that yesterday in Almaty it was still warm and sunny...
- I would like you to remember your first steps in football and tell how your transformation into a coach took place.
- I started to study with Igor Matveyevich Romanov at Lokomotiv stadium, from eight to fifteen I had been training with him. At fifteen I defended the colours of the National Youth Team of Kazakhstan. I had to go to my relatives in Germany. I went with my father, and the coach of the national team Sergey Kvochkin asked me to keep in form and keep myself in good shape. I voiced the request in Germany, and they told me that there was a team called Ulm, where I could work with my peers. I was quite a technical player, and after two training sessions, representatives of the team came up to me with a proposal to play for them and stay in Germany until the age of twenty, having passed all age levels with the team in the club system. Naturally, my father and I refused, because it was much unexpected: I was studying in school, all my friends and relatives were in Almaty. But after returning home and analyzing everything, we decided to agree. So after the end of the ninth grade, I ended up in Germany. The main squad played in Bundesliga, coached by Ralph Rangnik (now the Head Coach of the RB Leipzig. – Note of auth.), and we were engaged in the local football academy. There I spent the time until the age of twenty-one and returned to Almaty, where I spent six months in FC Kairat. Then in 2002 my uncle Eduard Getenovich Babayan took me to FC Tsesna. We were given the task of playing with the young guys, promote to the First League, then to enter the top division. Experienced players were invited to this business, and we achieved our goal. After the German fields, our stadiums are just a disaster, and, unfortunately, the situation in many cities has not changed yet. I began to pursue injuries. That season we kept our residence in the top division, then Anton Joor joined the team. Since I spoke German fluently and talked with him in his native language, he offered to help me, and I translated in the process of his communication with the players and was constantly nearby. So I began my first steps in a new business for me. Then I got another injury and, after consulting with Joor and my uncle, I decided to concentrate on helping the Head Coach. At the same time, I met Sayan Khamitzhanov, who was the head of FC Tsesna, and began to retrain. Since then, I have worked as an assistant to many foreign coaches, from whom he learned a lot.
- So, knowledge of the language was a lucky chance?
- This is important, but not the most important thing. It seems to me that, being educated in Germany, I understood a lot in football science. Moreover, Joor did not have an assistant and he gave me a group of young players with whom I conducted classes myself. It was necessary to convey the idea of the coach, and I got my first experience. The advice to engage in new activity was given to me by Joor, who saw some abilities in me.
- That is, there was no dream of becoming a coach until the words of Joor?
- I didn’t think about it at all, I dreamed of becoming a football player and playing, playing, playing. If it were no injuries, then who knows what would have happened. By the age of 25 I decided for myself that I would study and become a coach. I attended many different courses, went to seminars and internships at my own expense. I worked in the Football Federation of Kazakhstan as an assistant coach of the National Team, which also became a very valuable experience. I went through a very good school, taking a lot of the best, trying to throw aside unnecessary. At the moment I don’t think that I already know everything, I still have a lot to learn and develop. People believed in me, I tried to justify the trust by full-fledged work, constantly engaged in self-education. Probably, thanks to everyone who believed in me, today I work in FC Astana – a big Kazakhstani club. This is a huge responsibility, but at the same time a great experience for me. However, there is a lot of pressure in terms of the expectations of the country’s football community and the capital. I always say to the players: FC Astana is a big club that should win every match. Suppose another club can afford to win one, and then lose two matches. FC Astana cannot. Here players able to withstand pressure and give results must work. It is necessary to look for and find motivation by your own, I should not constantly push and urge them. It is necessary to develop and grow with the team, otherwise, if you are not able to find the strength in yourself, motivate yourself, put yourself in mood for every match, your place is outside the team. You will not grow and benefit – that is the credo known to every player of FC Astana. Similar requirements to the coach: if we lose a couple of matches, then no one will keep me long. If we want to train big clubs, and we all want it, then we need to meet the highest criteria daily and hourly.
- Since our entry to UEFA, coaches at all levels have received increased attention. We want to see the success of domestic specialists and are jealous of the invitation of foreigners. You managed to work with a number of them, who is the coolest, in your opinion?
- It is difficult to talk about one thing. For example, take Arnaud Pipers. He managed to create the kind of atmosphere that led the guys. Then in the National Team there were experienced and reputable players like Samat Smakov, Andrey Karpovich, Ruslan Baltiyev, David Loria, Dmitriy Byakov. All of them were at the peak of their careers. Pipers managed to unite everyone and work on a common task. Yuri Krasnozhan, for example, is a very strong tactician and strategist. Let’s take Miroslav Beranek. He also finely understood the players, was an excellent psychologist and found the strings in the soul of each player. With him, I think the team played well. Stanimir Stoilov, with his work and the result he achieved with the club, gave the guys confidence. They believed that they can play with any opponent in Europe. Everyone introduced something of their own, and I can’t single out someone by your indicator. All have strong qualities, and each has left its big mark. It is also important to be in the right place next to the right people who correctly understand their role, conscientiously relate to duties and believe in you. In addition, such people understand that if they have to achieve big goals, then they need to be 100% consistent. I would like to focus on the personality of our top manager Sayan Khamitzhanov. Few people understand and know what a great contribution he makes to the team’s success. There are increased demands to it and coaches. That is, FC Astana receives everything what is necessary, thanks to the work of Sayan Zhaksygeldievich, because there are no trifles in football, and he is aware of this. We need super hotels, super travels, super accomodation, top-level medical care, ideal conditions for training, and we get it all in full. If the person leading the team does not understand this, there will never be progress. In our case, it’s only worth saying whether this or that is needed, and we get what we need. But in return we give all the best and give the result indicated by the club’s management. We have a good scouting, and we make decisions on candidates together. Someone finds a football player to a certain position, we watch his games, choose the best, and in fact there are natural difficulties of a financial nature and the like. Suppose the Coaching Staff liked the player, and the huge work begins. There are agents, interests of clubs, in which the player needed performs, that’s why I say that professionalism and immersion in the work of our boss deserve respect, and we all try to play him back in his own coin.
- You spoke about the role of Pipers, who created a good microclimate in the National Team. Was it difficult for him to find an approach to the best football players of the country?
- Yes, there were complex personalities, the same Dima Byakov. But Pipers could make contact and sum up the abilities of each to a common denominator that yields a result. This was one of his strengths. The Dutchman could forgive mistakes somewhere, but he could also press, regardless of the status of the individual, to find the right words. The key is that Pipers was an open and honest person. I do not want to say that he is a weak tactician, but his key quality is – the ability to find an approach to every player, and in those years it was not easy. And today we have a very high level of players in the national team, I think that with the right approach they have a great future.
- I remember Leonid Pakhomov once said about Oleg Litvinenko: “Oleg is a unique footballer, and I close my eyes to his weaknesses in everyday life. He asked to believe in him and give a chance to take the field with the words: “I will definitely score my goal...” Do you have any recollections about how Lithuania made them believe in themselves with goals?
- Litvinenko, God rest his soul – a unique case in our football. He played with us in FC Alma-Ata. There was such an episode: Oleg disappeared for a week, and no one could find him. Then he appears in the team two days before the match with FC Aktobe. He says, do not worry, let me take the field, I will do the result. And he scored three goals, bringing victory. In the team of Pipers, Dima Byakov had something like that, but not on such a scale. He was a completely controlled person, he had a mad glory among the people. People who were nearby influenced him incorrectly, constantly invited to restaurants, but he did not want to offend them with refusal. He scored crazy goals. I remember him in Kairat, when, having received a pass, he single-handedly decided the fate of the match. He had a very rich potential, he could still play. He possessed excellent leadership qualities, could “give any player hell”, at those times it was fashionable and necessary from leaders who could lead teammates and achieve the desired goal and result. At those times it was necessary, now times are changing, and young people require a different approach. It was a kind of hazing, but Byakov could tell even the veteran if he could not cope with the work assigned. The same was Samat Smakov, they belonged to the generation of spiritual players, to which both coaches and partners listened.
- If we talk about the difference between the players of twenty years ago and today, what it is expressed in?
- Probably, the first thing that foreign specialists have introduced and instilled in us, starting from Joor and Pipers, is the strictest discipline and organization. This couldn’t have no impact to the young. They grew up with this, followed the recommendations. It was difficult to influence formed players, but they had to take into account the rules of the game. If earlier, as a rule, there was a tradition to gather after each match and drink, now there is practically no such thing. It’s okay if the team celebrates success after a victory with a dinner in a restaurant with a glass of wine or a glass of beer. But feast until the morning, and then come for a morning workout done in – there is no such thing now, well, or is very rare. One hundred percent sure that the younger generation is more disciplined. They are very devout people, ready to change with the world. See, many people today take care of their health, visiting fitness clubs. Those who have no money are engaged in elementary jogging, give up bad habits, ride bicycles, participate in competitions for sports fans. Everything like in the West. It has always been there, they pay more attention to healthy food and diet. When I came to the German sports club at the age of fifteen, then, frankly, I was amazed to see older people who lift the barbell with a weight inaccessible to me. This suggests that they are involved in sports all their lives. Well, and the western approach causes respect. When I got to Germany, I ran into something unknown to us: before each workout, they took blood from my earlobe. That is, unless the coaches see my performance, they did not allow me to train. This is still not the case in Kazakhstan, and more than twenty years have passed. Unfortunately, while our medicine is lagging behind the European.
- Today we have a generation of professional football players?
- If we talk about FC Astana, then 95 percent are a pro. But there will always be two or three people who need to be guided. Or it concerns the guys who first started working with us. If they are not ready to accept our rhythm, demands, then we are not on the way. If they harmoniously blend in and accept our lifestyle, then we are ready to accept them into our family. But they have to face the fact that, coming from a small team into a big club, they think they deserve better, but they don’t give themselves to the end. Unfortunately, this happens quite often. I am talking about reducing the demanding to themselves: first, he drops out of the squad, and then it is very difficult, almost impossible to return to the main squad. I talk with each player before the start of the season, with those who come to FC Astana for the first time, whether it is from Kazakhstan or from abroad. I say: you came from your team, but we believe in you and put forward conditions. Try to match them. We must take it seriously, do not think that we have a weak level. You would not be the first who can join the tribe or get a contract break. If you reduce the demanding to yourself, then it is hard to get back to the previous level, and we part with such players. I relate to strong foreign players those who play not two or three matches at a stable level, but for two or three seasons. These are strong foreign players. Anicic, for example, Maevski, for the second year, is kept at a high level. Everybody has small recessions, but if after one match he is not visible in two matches, then no matter what qualities a football player has, we say goodbye to him. I would prefer someone who does not demonstrate brightly separate qualities, but plays at a good level for a very long time.
- Could you call someone who came from abroad, but reduced the demands and you broke up with him?
- I do not want to name all the names, but believe me, there were such players. One of them was the Macedonian player Agim Ibraimi. He was a pretty good football player, but he didn’t understand where he came from and lowered the demanding to himself, he believed that he should be guaranteed a place in the main squad, despite the fact that he didn’t work out in training. We endured, together with Stanimir we constantly talked to him, but to no avail. At some point, he realized that he needed to change, but it was too late. When the body has not worked for several months at a high level, then it is problematic to get back into service. We have a fierce competition. He flew out of the squad, but it’s very difficult to return. Yes, if there was an injury, then we give this player more time, we try to give him a chance to return to the squad, we look at his condition in the matches. However, in other cases, we part without regrets. Astana is not a club that will tolerate a stand-off, and we are not going to persuade anyone.
- In the offseason, the last word remains with the Head Coach when you invite a new player?
- It turns out this way: the season ends, we are preparing for the management, the scouting group information about those positions in which we want to see reinforcement. Scouts headed by the President of the club are engaged in the search. They find several candidates and show them to us. We stop focusing on one of them, and further work begins. The President is doing some work, but it may turn out that he cannot agree with them. Then there is candidate number two. That is, the first was in the top of our landmarks. The second is a little worse, but we are forced to focus on him, because it went wrong with the first. And it is built and works according to the designated scheme.
- Do you throw a net to the whole world or only Europe and the near abroad?
- Serious people search almost all over the world and offer, roughly speaking, only high-quality goods. It was the case, under the terms of fair play, we could only take free football players, and it was hard to negotiate with them. But after we made some noise in Europe for a couple of years, FC Astana became respected and negotiations began to take a little easier. I will add, bring a high-level player is hellish and hard work of many people. Crazy efforts have to be made to find and get us a football player. If out of five one did not fit, and four harmoniously joined the team – this is a good work of the club. It is especially difficult in the winter, as it was in the last season. We wanted to get players, and we had financial difficulties, and we had to postpone the signing of the contract until the summer. The May 15 season in Europe ends, and the players wait until the autumn for profitable offers, they do not train for a couple of months. But we have a season in full swing, in parallel there is preparation for the Champions League, and they are coming in a state when they are not ready, although it is necessary to play right now. This is a big problem. Therefore, it is fundamentally important to take newcomers in the winter, so that in the offseason they go with us to complete training sessions, imbued with the spirit of FC Astana, the atmosphere in the team, learn our requirements, get used to the team.
- Do you plan to strengthen some positions in the coming offseason?
- Now we have a fairly balanced team, and 95 percent of all players have existing contracts. The positions of the foreign players are occupied, and it’s hard to say that we need someone. First of all, we are still playing in the European Competitions season. There is a match with Dynamo Kyiv ahead, and God grant that we won it. We want to go further. December 13 there is a match in France. If all goes well, in February we can play in the playoffs of the Europa League. Taking someone in this period is problematic, it takes time to adapt. Therefore, we are counting on those who we have, in principle, we have a balanced squad that allows us to solve problems.
- After the match in Kyiv, I wanted to ask such a question: was Roma Murtazayev’s substitution spontaneous, did your intuition play or was this substitution planned before the match?
- Before each match I write the position of whom I will field exactly when I substitute this or that player. Frankly, there was no match it worked out the way I planned on paper. Because it comes from the development of events on the field. Somewhere you act on intuition, consult with assistants, and you don’t always found it right. I fielded Roma because he worked well all week. I planned to give him a chance, but did not know at what time it would happen and at what position he would take the field. At first I wanted to change a football player...
- It does not matter (laughs). But still he made a choice, changed the player who needed to be changed, and, thank God, Roma scored and justified the trust, equalizing the score by the end of the match. (In the 88th minute Murtazayev was substituted by Marin Tomasov and scored a goal in the fifth compensated minute. The score of the match was 2:2 – Author’s note). For us it was an important draw, we believed in our strength and gained psychological confidence. But we had problems with physical condition, because the preparation was forced. In the spring, we had about thirteen or fourteen injuries, this is a horrible dream of any coach, and we were faced with this in reality. There were no such problems before, but we were able to catch up and entrenched in European Competitions. Yura Logvinenko experienced great problems due to permanent injuries. It was necessary for a large group of players to catch up with the team, and this lasted until July. Only after that it was possible to say that the team is more or less ready to solve problems.
- Is Roman Grigorchuk the coach?
- Yes. He is a strong tactician and strategist. He is a teacher, loves theory. Yes, not everyone likes to listen to forty-five minutes of theoretical analysis, but Roman Iosifovich always said the right things. It turned out as it happened, for family reasons, he went home, but he can return.
- And last year qualifying to the playoffs of the Europa League, were there chances to get over FC Sporting, what do you think over time?
- There were chances, but there was a big problem that we faced. We finished the season on December 8 in the group stage and finished the season. We did not work a month and started training in Dubai on January 12. It was necessary to lay the functional to be ready to start, but the lack of playing tone played a role. In Europe, the championships were in full swing, and we should go to a very high level after the holidays. Lost at home by stupidity, penalty plus send-off, but at the away match tied – 3:3. The fact that we ended up in the 1/16 finals is an achievement that we could not dream of. Teams with experience do not get to this stage, richer than us and staffed with players stars, and we are in the playoffs. When, God forbid, there will be time that we will not get into the playoffs, then everyone will appreciate our achievement of last season. This is a different world – the Champions League and the Group Stage of the Europa League! You feel like a super football player. If we play at nine in the evening by Astana time, then we are broadcasted to the whole world, and this is the first match among the meetings on this matchday. This is a crazy platform for players, thanks to this we sold Twumasi and Maksimovic. When we had such acheivements? I hope that other Kazakhstani masters will experience the emotions we have experienced and will realize the highest intensity of passions and the level of the knockout game stage in European Competitions. There is potential, we lack of European mentality, calmness, stability, culture. We want our guys to be confident in themselves, and all this comes with similar matches. Once Yuri Krasnozhan said these words to me: “Remember, there is a positive experience and there is a negative experience, a positive experience is very important”.
Now I understand how important it is to have a positive experience when you win and you begin to understand that you are playing head-to-head with strong teams. You are already beginning to really realize that here, at Astana Arena, no one will take away points from us. There will be a team, a powerful organization of the game, discipline. We will play to the last, and it doesn’t matter whether Rennes, Jablonec, Dynamo will come out against us or Atletico Madrid. What is worth it is that the players have understood: they can play head-to-head with such strong opponents. You can’t buy such experience, it’s a pity that only Astana has it and Kairat, Tobol, Ordabasy and Irtysh don’t have it... It would be much more interesting to play in the championship, it would develop very productively, and a lot of players would gain confidence. I hope we are having this in the near future.
- Did you have the opportunity to leave Twumasi in the team or Maksimovic?
- According to Maksimovic, it was clear that he was a high-level player. Before receiving the ball, he evaluates the situation correctly, turning his head in all directions, noting the position of teammates. Such a European footballer of a good level, ready to go to the top championship, and we understood that we could not keep him. Twumasi also has the speed and good strike. We could keep him, but his wife wanted to live in Europe, so no one began to interfere. He was there with his thoughts, and if someone does not want to play here, you cannot make him play.
- Did the amount received satisfy the club’s management?
- This is a question for the management, but the fact that we sold the player to Spain speaks volumes. They and Kabananga, I think, were sold for good money.
- What can we expect from the upcoming match with Dynamo? Is the advantage of artificial turf an important factor?
- We played here with top teams. Coaches of Atletico and Benfica did not say a word about the problems of their teams with the turf, and the representatives of Rennes did not make any complaints. You can play whatever football you want on it. That is, it is impossible to say that someone has an advantage because of the field. Today’s turf is the top. The ball rolls smoothly, and the players without any restrictions due to the quality of the field can give it all to the maximum. Everyone has the attitude and motivation to give one hundred percent. No one allows underestimation of FC Astana, as it was possible to notice earlier, today people are reckon with us, they see real power of us. We consistently perform the fourth year in the group stages of European Competitions, therefore the attitude towards us is appropriate. Everyone understands that Astana is a serious opponent, we have a wonderful stadium. If two years ago the turf was not the latest generation, today it is just great.
- Well, the sell-out in the stands is also a good addition to the entourage...
- We have a great atmosphere on the matches of European tournaments. Teams like Jablonec, which is a very strong club, are also pleased to plunge into such an atmosphere. There are all the players are hungry for success, want to prove themselves and get to the note of the top clubs, show themselves. They have the first experience of playing in the group stage, and in front of thirty thousand fans, they are also pleased to perform. They have a small stadium, six thousand seats, and they also need to go their way. We have a crazy support of the stands, and it is very easy to lose your head when such a huge number of spectatators support you. If we attack, I always urge players to maintain a balance of power at our goal, so as not to run into a counterattack. Because when a stadium atmosphere is transmitted to a player, you can rush headlong into an opponent’s penalty box, lose control, open up and concede. And at such a level retribution for any mistake comes instantly. You try through the nearest players to bring the team a command not to bare the rear and do not run forward, hoping to thank the fans with one more goal scored. You say to them: guys, there should be four or five players in the back to be able to cope with the forwards of the opponent in case of losing the ball. In general, it’s difficult not to lose your head when there is a crowd of people, and we need thinking players who keep a fresh head and are not amenable to emotions.
- In a meeting with the Kyiv team, are you reckon on the victory?
- We hope to have points. There are difficulties, the championship is over. No game tone. Now fifteen players play for different national teams, but we do not play together. Now we need to look for sparring partners, but with which team can we play friendly matches? If with a reserves, they will not provide the necessary resistance. So far there are no options, and we need to somehow bring the players into a combat-ready state. Even in digital indicators, the level of championship matches is different from European Competitions matches. In Kazakhstan, it is necessary to put pressure on the opponent, and it gives us the ball. Well, only Kairat, maybe two or three more teams are capable of fighting, that’s all.
- But you still had problems, four defeats in the championship.
- Yes, I will try to explain why this happened. Having a huge advantage in the meeting with Shakhter, we conceded. There was a terrible pitch, had so many opportunities, but conceded a goal. In Uralsk, there was a force majeure. Our flight was canceled and we arrived there on the matchday at six in the morning. The players didn’t get enough sleep, and went to the match heavy, not rested. The physical condition was bad, we got off lightly, giving FC Akzhayik only 0:3 (laughs). But, despite all the circumstances, the coach is to be blamed for all defeats, so the blame for these matches lies entirely with me.
- You have repeatedly mentioned the difference between the quality of turfs in Almaty and Astana and in other cities.
- It is a sensitive subject. For fifteen years, nothing has changed in this matter. I talk with all coaches, team directors. I tell them: listen, why don’t you make artificial turf, it is not difficult and not so expensive? No, they say, we will cope with the natural. There are good natural fields in Almaty, Shymkent, and of course in Taraz. But if in Almaty the field is operated once, maximum twice a week, then in other cities it is not so. In Almaty, Kairat trains at the base, and not every city has an opportunity to share the training process and participation in a match of a round. Atyrau, Aktobe, Kyzylorda, which have always had one field. You have to play and train on it twice a day. That’s all, the field is destroyed completely. In March, April, May there are difficult climatic conditions in these cities. Then you need to bring them in order. There is only one way out – artificial fields with heating, and no one will have problems, play at your pleasure. Today there is a division in this matter, there are fields for hot regions, and there are fields for cold ones. Depends on the crumbs, turf filler. There is such a crumb that does not heat up. In the south, you can still keep the natural turf, but professional care is also needed. If you do not train, you can keep for matches, but the conditions are not everywhere like Kairat has. Therefore, the only way out is artificial fields and heating. Immediately there will be less one problem in Kazakhstan football. Why is this not solved? What are the problems with clubs with good budgets that they are not able to build one field? March, April we play in schools of some kind, gymnasiums, outside the city, in the middle of nowhere. And I’m not talking about the locker rooms, the conditions for the fans! And how can I motivate guys to do their best? First we play in Kyiv, in the top arena of Madrid, and after three days in some school, on a turf laid on concrete. This is not normal. Players are afraid of injury, and will not listen to me. I ask all involved people, coaches, specialists through your newspaper: make normal fields. This is a simple way for our football and heart-cry. It is not as expensive as it seems, especially since the funds are mainly budget, and mayors themselves will thank you later. And the people will be grateful all the more.
- Do you remember, a few years ago the federation also tried to promote the idea of building arenas...
- Of course I remember. For Kostanay, Aktobe, Karaganda, Petropavlovsk or Pavlodar this is generally the best solution. When we learned where we would play in Karaganda, we sent a reserves team there. We were waiting for the match with Kairat, then there was Jablonec, and we did not risk the health of the players. Why do we think about it, and not the management of the teams that receive us in “gardens”? We need to toughen up regulations. Say: play where you want, but we do not allow matches to be held on such a field. They will immediately find the money and create acceptable conditions. Every year, in March-April Okzhetpes, Shakhter train in Astana Arena. But you can give them half a year to correct the situation? Why should I worry about this? Didn’t they understand this in fifteen years?
If you remember, there was a scandal in Atyrau, we refused to play on their field. Foreign players said to me: coach, sorry, how can we play here? After all, on that turf is not