Kakhaber Tskhadadze has got his multi-national FC İnter Bakı side playing some exciting football, but for the coach nurturing local talent is another important priority.
Top of the Azerbaijani Premier League's championship group, İnter feature 19 foreign players in their squad, including four from the coach's native Georgia, but Tskhadadze is also eager to promote local talent. "We have four senior Azerbaijan players and three Under-21 internationals," he told UEFA.com. "We plan to increase the number of local players from next season. We follow the work of our reserve team closely and give those players a chance to play in the first team."
The former CIS and Georgia defender has discussed the state of the Azeri game with national coach Berti Vogts and says they share a common goal. Tskhadadze, who had a four-year spell as a player with Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany, explained: "[Vogts] is a legend of world football. I meet him here from time to time and then I use my language skills from my time with Eintracht. Our main conversation topic is İnter players in the national squad. We keep in touch as we have the same goal – developing Azeri football."
While that may be the long-term plan, Tskhadadze's immediate priority is league success with the club he joined last June. Having first moved to Azerbaijan to take charge of FK Standard Sumqayit, he returned to Georgia briefly to coach the national U21 team, but could not resist another crack at club management when İnter came calling. "I have joined a team with very high ambition," the 41-year-old said. "Winnning the title and the cup, success in Europe; it all corresponds with my own coaching aims."
His coaching style owes much to the football he saw played in a career which took in spells with FC Dinamo Tbilisi, FC Spartak Moskva, FC Dinamo Moskva, Eintracht, FC Alania Vladikavkaz, Manchester City FC and FC Anzhi Makhachkala. "I worked with a lot of different coaches and learned something useful from all of them. Jupp Heynckes, Klaus Toppmöller and Dragoslav Stepanović are top coaches. I got many things from Valeri Gazzaev at Dinamo but my main influence was Gadzhi Gadzhiev at Anzhi, partly because my career was coming to an end and I consciously tried to learn from my coach."
The lessons he learned have been put into practice with İnter, but while his bosses are excited by the prospect of taking their cavalier style into Europe next season, Tskhadadze is not looking that far ahead. "You can see from the financial support behind us what our club's ambitions are," he said. "Sponsors pay big money in Azerbaijan and it is natural that they expect a lot. Europe is very important of course, but to get to Europe we have to finish high in the league."
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