MFK Dinamo Moskva are back into European action after a two-year exile and are determined to reclaim the UEFA Futsal Cup as they start their main round campaign next Thursday.
Dinamo won the trophy four years ago having lost the two previous finals but since 2009 have been absent from Europe, with MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg dominating in Russia. In March 2010, Dinamo also suffered the death of club president and former Russia great Konstantin Eremenko from a heart attack, the futsal world mourning one of its legendary figures.
Andrei Gubernski took over the presidency and Faustino Pérez replaced coach Yuri Rudnev, at the helm for most of the glory years. Pérez had won the first two UEFA Futsal Cups at Playas de Castellón FS in 2002 and 2003, and wasted no time in claiming the Russian double in his first Dinamo season, aided by the return to form of Cirilo as striker and now playmaker, while Fernandinho was voted forward of the year and Tatù best defender.
"The team united at once around the coach," Gubernski said. "
The lads listened to him like first-grade pupils listen to their teacher. You could see this man was a professional who set the highest goals and wanted to win everything he could. We bought only one player then, Romulo, but it was the others who began to perform at a different level."
With Dinamo once again in Europe, the board has set the target of winning the treble and brought in Brazil captain Vinicius from ElPozo Murcia FS to boost a squad which will be without Russia striker Vladislav Shayakhmetov all year after he ruptured an Achilles tendon in February. This makes Dinamo the team to beat in main round Group 1 against Club Futsal Eindhoven, Athina '90 Athens and Slovenian hosts KMN Svea Lesna Litija.
"Our next opponents are not top-class sides," acknowledged Dinamo captain Aleksandr Rakhimov. "However, none of them are going to surrender so it is going to be tough. We are eager to win this tournament and qualify for the next round."
Stronger opponents will be waiting for Dinamo later on, including Marca Futsal from Italy, regarded by Rakhimov as one of the competition favourites. "We played Marca in pre-season," the 32-year-old forward said. "They are a very decent team with a great squad, worthy of being in the finals. The Portuguese and Spanish clubs are also favourites along with Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan."
Dinamo can be surely added to that list. "Step by step, we are moving towards UEFA Futsal Cup victory; it is within our abilities," Gubernski believes. "We want so much to bring the trophy to Moscow for the fans to see it with their own eyes. That could provide a major boost for the development of futsal in Russia."
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