FC Dinamo Minsk may traditionally be Belarus's leading club, but they have been noticeably outshone by FC BATE Borisov in recent years. BATE have won the past three Vysshaya Liga titles and five in the past decade, while Dinamo have been crowned champions just once, in 2004, in eleven seasons.
It is a far cry from the early 1990s, when Dinamo – the leading Belarussian side in the time of the Soviet Union – won five titles in row after independence. It is a state of affairs Dinamo's new 27-year-old coach Kirill Alshevski is determined to change. Alshevski is the youngest ever coach in the Belarussian top flight, claiming the record from Victor Goncharenko, who was 30 when he took charge of BATE in 2007. Whereas Goncharenko made his name with BATE's youth team, Alshevski built a reputation leading a successful reserve outfit at Dinamo. However, it is a record of a different sort which the newly appointed coach is looking to overturn; namely, staying in the job for a considerable length of time.
Over the last ten years, Dinamo have appointed 20 different coaches under the presidency of Yuri Chizh, who replaced Slavoljub Muslin with Alshevski in July after they were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League in the second qualifying round by Tromsø IL. Chizh said: "Our coaches haven't given our boys the necessary level of motivation. Dinamo are a big name, but that doesn't mean our opponents must kneel before us and tremble in fear."
It is a big challenge, but Alshevski is relishing the opportunity. "Such chances may only come once in a lifetime, so there was really nothing to think about," he said on his decision to accept the offer to become coach. "I want to express my gratitude to Yuri Chizh who decided to make such an adventurous step and entrust the team in the hands of a young and inexperienced coach. It shows he has faith in me." Alshevski's coaching debut against city-rivals FC Minsk ended in a goalless draw on 2 August, leaving Dinamo fourth in the table with 23 points, eleven behind leaders BATE. The job, though, is only beginning for Alshevski. "Only after the last round of matches will we know if we've reached our goal," he said. "It's only the middle of the season, so our objective to finish in first place stays the same."
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