Andriy Mykolayovych, how are the preparations for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) coming along for Ukraine’s National Football Team?
In general, winter is a difficult period for football. There was a break in our calendar for more than two months, and it is always hard for football players to return to a competitive rhythm and gain fitness again quickly. Out football match with Croatia is planned for the end of March, and I hope that by then football players of each club will be well prepared and in shape.
For me personally, the best place in Kiev is the Olympic Stadium. I spent a long and successful career with the Ukraine’s National Football Team, and this is my team for life. Andriy Shevchenko
How can the foundation-level training and coaching infrastructure be improved in Ukraine to produce more world-class footballers?
This is a complex target. Ukraine has enough well-trained, qualified players, and we have modern methods. However, in the area of general infrastructure development, our football is currently lacking. We need to spark interest in the game with bright examples, but unfortunately, the number of football clubs is currently only decreasing, leading football players to leave the country…
Ukraine as a state lacks a systematic approach for now, even though the Ukrainian Football Federation taken many steps in this direction.
In this case, it is very important to have demand from the end consumer, from the child or his parents.
Andriy Mykolayovych, in your amazing professional career, you have traveled and lived in some of the Europe’s most beautiful cities. What is your favorite city overseas, and how does Kiev compare to this city?
I travel a lot indeed, especially now, when I have become a chief coach of the Ukraine’s National Football Team, as Ukrainian footballers play all around Europe!
For me, Kiev is the main city in the world. However, part of my soul will always remain in Milan. The cities are not similar, and this is actually good.
Milan has a long history and warm weather, and even in winter, it is green.
Both in Kiev and in Milan, I feel at home. My relatives, friends and fans live in these cities. For me, Kiev and Milan are similar in one aspect: in both cities it is difficult for me to walk calmly in the street.
hat do you think needs to be done to develop Kiev’s tourism?
In Kiev, a lot has already been done for tourists: there is a modern airport, and a well-developed hotel and restaurant infrastructure. In my opinion, more tourists will want to visit Kiev once they learn more about city’s attractions. We have to advertise more of our own, Ukrainian, things that we are proud of, that we want to show to the world. This is how it’s done all over the world.
ell us about your favorite place in Kiev and why.
For me personally, the best place in Kiev is the Olympic Stadium. I spent a long and successful career with the Ukraine’s National Football Team, and this is my team for life. Here at the stadium, I made my debut, scored my first goal in the jersey of the national team… Here I scored the last of my career goals against the Sweden National Team during EURO-2012. And now I bring the team to the stadium as a chief coach and again look into faces of football fans, but now from trainer’s bench. It means a lot to me.
When will we see younger Shevchenkos on the football pitch?
In football, life is like a zebra. After a dark line, there will always be a light one. We will definitely see more than one famous and even great football player in Ukraine, but all in good time. Ukraine has huge potential; we just have to learn how to realize it. And this is related to everything.